Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 3447–3458 | Cite as

Phenotypic differentiation in the morphology and nutrient uptake kinetics among Undaria pinnatifida cultivated at six sites in Japan

  • Yoichi SatoEmail author
  • Tomonari Hirano
  • Kyosuke Niwa
  • Takeshi Suzuki
  • Nobuhisa Fukunishi
  • Tomoko Abe
  • Shigeyuki KawanoEmail author


Understanding the nutrient uptake kinetics of kelp populations will contribute to an improved understanding of environmental adaptation and the breeding of new cultivars. In this study, we examined the morphological characteristics, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents, and NO3 –N and NH4 +–N uptake kinetics of Undaria pinnatifida sporophytes cultivated at six industrial farms throughout Japan. We detected significant differences in morphology among sites. At Matsushima Bay (northern Pacific coast of Japan), where autumnal seawater temperatures fall in concert with increasing nutrient concentrations, sporophytes were significantly larger than at other sites from December to February. The C content of the sporophytes was seasonally stable at all of the locations, but the N content of sporophytes declined after February due to a decrease in seawater nutrients. We compared the uptake kinetics of NO3 –N and NH4 +–N among cultivation sites. V max and K s, which are Michaelis–Menten parameters that measure adaptation to nutrient concentrations, were highest in the Seto Inland Sea and lowest in the northern sector of the Sea of Japan. The V max/K s ratio is a measure of adaptation to low nutrient concentrations; the highest values were measured in the northern sector of the Sea of Japan. The parameter ranges were broader than those previously reported for invasive populations of U. pinnatifida in other parts of the world. Thus, we detected population-level adaptations to the various nutrient conditions in Japanese waters, and these results suggest the existence of ecotypes according to nutrient uptake kinetics. The different populations may be used to provide sources of genetic material that could be of value in breeding programmes by improving productivity and quality.


Undaria pinnatifida Phaeophyceae Nutrient uptake kinetics Carbon Nitrogen 



We sincerely thank Dr. Ishikawa of the Iwate Fisheries Centre and Mr. Yamanaka and Mr. Ono of Riken Food Co., Ltd. for their guidance throughout this research. We are very grateful to Mr. Inoguchi and Mr. Sakuma of the Iwate Prefectural Fisheries Technology Centre, Mr. Yamaguchi of the Coastal Regional Development Bureau, Department of Fisheries in Iwate Prefecture, Mr. Ohwada and Mr. Hatakeyama of Hirota Bay Fisheries Cooperative, Mr. Akama of Seafoods Akama Co., Ltd., Mr. Tojyo of Tojyo Shouten, Mr. Ebisudani and the staff of the Akashiura Fishermen’s Cooperative, Mr. Yoshitake of the Yamaguchi Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative, Mr. Hosoda of Haedomari Fisheries Cooperative, Mr. Saito and Dr. Nakabayashi of the Akita Fisheries Centre, and Mr. Suzuki of Wataru Suisan for providing the sporophytes of cultivated kelp, for their provision of cultivated kelp, and for their generous support during the field surveys. We also thank Dr. Ito of Tohoku University and Dr. Nanba and Ms. Shinozuka for their kind advice and cooperation in the analysis of C and N contents and in the measurement of nutrients. We thank Mr. Ito, Mr. Kasahara, Ms. Mogamiya, Ms. Murakami, Ms. Hishinuma, and Ms. Sasaki of Riken Food Co., Ltd. and Ms. Murakami of RIKEN for their support in measuring the morphological characteristics. This study was funded by the Formation of Tohoku Marine Science Centre Project (Technical Development That Leads to the Creation of New Industries) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan.

Supplementary material

10811_2016_857_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (47 kb)
Table S1 (XLSX 46 kb)
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Table S2 (XLSX 43 kb)
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Table S3 (XLSX 40 kb)
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Table S4 (XLSX 37 kb)
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Table S5 (XLSX 40 kb)
10811_2016_857_MOESM6_ESM.pptx (148 kb)
Fig. S1 Undaria pinnatifida. Nitrate and ammonium uptake rates of sporophytes collected in January and March from six sites in Japan. See Table 1 for an explanation of site codes. dw dry weight (PPTX 148 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoichi Sato
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Tomonari Hirano
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kyosuke Niwa
    • 5
  • Takeshi Suzuki
    • 1
  • Nobuhisa Fukunishi
    • 3
  • Tomoko Abe
    • 3
  • Shigeyuki Kawano
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Riken Food Co., LtdTagajyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciencesthe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  3. 3.Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based ScienceWakoJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of MiyazakiMiyazaki-shiJapan
  5. 5.Fisheries Technology Institute, Hyogo Prefectural Technology Center for Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesAkashiJapan

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