The Determination of DMSP in Marine Algae and Salt Marsh Plants

  • D. W. Russell
  • A. G. Howard


Factors influencing the analysis of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) are discussed with particular reference to the measurement of DMSP using HPLC-FPD instrumentation. Significant losses of DMSP can occur during sampling, sample storage and DMSP extraction. During sampling and sample transport, care must be taken to minimize stresses such as changes in temperature, light level or salinity. During the extraction procedure cell rupture releases DMSP-lyase into the extract leading to the breakdown of DMSP to dimethylsulfide (DMS). This can be minimized by maintaining acidic extraction conditions. A similar DMSP loss due to the release of DMSP-lyase occurs when samples are frozen and then rethawed prior to the extraction step.

DMSP has been measured in a number of macro-algae, salt marsh plants, and cultured phytoplankton in Southern England. DMSP has been confirmed by compound-specific HPLC-FPD instrumentation to be present in the three red, two green and three brown macro-algae. The levels of this compound vary greatly, raging from0.0010 mmol DMSP. kg-1 (fresh weight basis) in Laminaria saccharina ti 161 mmol DMSP. kg-1 (fresh weight basis) in Enteromorpha linza. DMSP was also confirmed as being present in the higher plants Halimione Portulacoides and Spartina alterniflora. DMSP was shown to be present in a number of phytoplankton. Of the studied species, levels ranged from 0.82 μmol DMSP/mg chlorophyll ‘a’ in Tetraselmis suercica to 157 μmol DMSP/mg Chl ‘a’ in Amiliania huxleyi.


Marine Alga Dimethyl Sulfide Base Hydrolysis Fresh Weight Basis Salt Marsh Plant 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. W. Russell
    • 1
  • A. G. Howard
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of SouthamptonSouthampton, HampshireUK

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