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Negative Effects of P-Buffering and pH on Photosynthetic Activity of Planktonic Desmid Species

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Photosynthetica

Abstract

The photosynthetic activities of three planktonic desmid species (Staurastrum brachiatum, Staurodesmus cuspidatus var. curvatus, and Staurastrum chaetoceras) were compared after adaptation to medium enriched with either a 20 mM Na+-phosphate (P) or HEPES buffer. Incubations up to 2 d were carried out at pH 6 or 8 under normal air or air enriched with 5 % CO2. Gross maximum photosynthetic rate (P max) and growth rate were decreased in both S. brachiatum and Std. cuspidatus at higher pH when using the HEPES buffer and this effect was independent of CO2 concentration, indicating that pH had an inhibitory effect on photosynthesis and growth in these species. The P-buffer at pH 8 caused a large decrease in P max and quantum yield for charge separation in photosystem 2 (PS2), compared to HEPES-buffered algae. This effect was very large in both S. brachiatum and Std. cuspidatus, two species characteristic of soft water lakes, but also significant in S. chaetoceras, a species dominant in eutrophic, hard water lakes. The decreased P max in P-buffer could not be related to a significant increase in cellular P content known to be responsible for inhibition in isolated chloroplasts. Experiments at pH 6 and 8 showed that two conditions, high pH and high Na+ concentration, both contributed to the decreased P max and quantum yield in the desmids. Effects of a P-buffer were less pronounced by using K+-P buffer. The use of P-buffer at pH 8 possibly resulted in high irradiance stress in all species, indicated by damage in the PS2 core complex. In the soft water species pH 8 resulted in increased non-photochemical quenching together with a high de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle pigments.

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Spijkerman, E., Garcia-Mendoza, E., Matthijs, H. et al. Negative Effects of P-Buffering and pH on Photosynthetic Activity of Planktonic Desmid Species. Photosynthetica 42, 49–57 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PHOT.0000040569.17719.2a

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