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Effects of light quality and temperature on the photosynthesis and pigment content of a subtidal edible red alga Meristotheca papulosa (Solieriaceae, Gigartinales) from Japan


This study investigated the effects of different light spectral qualities and temperature on the photosynthesis and pigment content of a subtidal edible red alga, Meristotheca papulosa. Photosynthesisirradiance (P–E) experiments were carried out under red (660 nm), blue (450 nm), green (525 nm, light-emitting diodes), and white light (visible light, metal halide lamp), and at 12, 20, and 28 °C, respectively. Maximum net photosynthetic rates (NPmax) were highest under green light. Other P–E parameter estimates were similar among algae under red, blue, and green light, including their lower initial slope (α) and higher saturation irradiances (Ek) as compared to those under white light. Additionally, NPmax and Ek under white light were highest at 28 °C, and lowest at 12 °C with characteristic photoinhibition at irradiances greater than 150 μmol photons m−2 s−1. Photosynthesistemperature (P–T) experiment revealed that the maximum gross photosynthetic rate (GPmax) occurred at 22.1 °C, which was within the optimal temperature range of Fv/Fm (21.5–23.6 °C). Exposures to the different light qualities at 100 μmol photons m−2 s−1 for 7 days showed increased phycoerythrin (PE) concentration of algae under blue and green light, while chlorophyll-a and phycocyanin (PC) showed little variation in all light qualities. Therefore, considering future management prospects for M. papulosa mariculture, we suggest that green light could be utilized to enhance photosynthesis. Furthermore, if the aim is to achieve high PE content for an improved reddish-color fresh product, exposure to blue or green light could be a good alternative.

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We thank Captain Akimasa Habano and the crew of T/S Nansei-Maru, Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, for their kind assistance in the measurement of underwater PAR. We also thank Professor Kazuhiko Anraku, Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University for his help in the measurement of light wavelength. All authors have provided consent.


This research was supported in part by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (#16H02939) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Technology and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

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Correspondence to Iris Ann Borlongan.

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Supplementary Fig. 1

Vertical distribution of the underwater irradiance near the study site, Cape Sata (31°30’N, 130°38′E), Kagoshima, Japan between 13:34 to 13:48 on 14 July 2018. Measurement was taken just below the seawater surface (1 m), and at depths of 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 m. Irradiance was measured at 1 Hz, and the sampling duration was 1 min for each depth. Irradiance measurements were used to determine the extinction coefficient (Ku m−1), according to Beer–Lambert equation. (JPG 176 kb)

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Borlongan, I.A., Suzuki, S., Nishihara, G.N. et al. Effects of light quality and temperature on the photosynthesis and pigment content of a subtidal edible red alga Meristotheca papulosa (Solieriaceae, Gigartinales) from Japan. J Appl Phycol (2020).

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  • Algae
  • Light-emitting diode
  • Light quality
  • Photoacclimation
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosynthetic pigment