Coral Reefs

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 621–625 | Cite as

High levels of acrylate in the Great Barrier Reef coral Acropora millepora

  • D. M. TapiolasEmail author
  • C. A. Motti
  • P. Holloway
  • S. G. Boyle


High concentrations of acrylate, 542–683 μmol g−1 of the non-skeletal dry mass (DM), were measured in the Great Barrier Reef coral, Acropora millepora, using quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (qNMR). As the amount of NaCl salt in the samples was substantial but variable, the total carbon (TC) in the coral extracts was determined, and the carbon due to acrylate found to represent 13–15% of the TC present in the total organic extracts (TOE). Acrylate, a C3 compound, is thus a substantial carbon source in the coral holobiont and is known to be derived from dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), which has previously been found in corals and other organisms that harbor Symbiodinium spp. The reason for such high levels of acrylate in the corals is unknown; possible functions include antimicrobial and/or antioxidant roles, as well as playing a role in the structuring of the healthy resident coral bacteria.


Acrylate Acrylic acid Acropora millepora qNMR Dimethylsulfoniopropionate 



We thank Drs Chris Battershill, Nicole Webster, David Bourne, Mr Yui Sato and Mr Adrian Lutz for sample collections and Mr Jean-Baptiste Raina for helpful discussions.

Supplementary material

338_2010_608_MOESM1_ESM.doc (168 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 168 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Tapiolas
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. A. Motti
    • 1
  • P. Holloway
    • 2
  • S. G. Boyle
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsville MCAustralia
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of WinnipegManitobaCanada

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