Ralf Rautenberger

Research Scientist

(+47) 482 10 194
ralf.rautenberger@nibio.no

Place
Bodø

Visiting address
Torggården, Kudalsveien 6, NO-8027 Bodø

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Abstract

Marine macrophytes, including seagrasses and macroalgae, form the basis of diverse and productive coastal ecosystems that deliver important ecosystem services. Moreover, western countries increasingly recognize macroalgae, traditionally cultivated in Asia, as targets for a new bio-economy that can be both economically profitable and environmentally sustainable. However, seagrass meadows and macroalgal forests are threatened by a variety of anthropogenic stressors. Most notably, rising temperatures and marine heatwaves are already devastating these ecosystems around the globe, and are likely to compromise profitability and production security of macroalgal farming in the near future. Recent studies show that seagrass and macroalgae can become less susceptible to heat events once they have been primed with heat stress. Priming is a common technique in crop agriculture in which plants acquire a stress memory that enhances performance under a second stress exposure. Molecular mechanisms underlying thermal priming are likely to include epigenetic mechanisms that switch state and permanently trigger stress-preventive genes after the first stress exposure. Priming may have considerable potential for both ecosystem restoration and macroalgae farming to immediately improve performance and stress resistance and, thus, to enhance restoration success and production security under environmental challenges. However, priming methodology cannot be simply transferred from terrestrial crops to marine macrophytes. We present first insights into the formation of stress memories in both seagrasses and macroalgae, and research gaps that need to be filled before priming can be established as new bio-engineering technique in these ecologically and economically important marine primary producers.

Abstract

The commercial cultivation of marine macroalgae is a young and rapidly growing industry sector in Norway. Although it is currently limited to a few brown macroalgae, other species such as the green marine macroalga Ulva fenestrata (formerly Ulva lactuca) has also a high potential for an industrial biomass production, for example to be used for the food marked. However, this process is strongly affected by the presence of marine diatoms transported along with the seawater into the cultivation system of U. fenestrata. These diatoms not only proliferate in the water tanks, they also colonise the green macroalgal biomass with many brown spots, which reduces its value for the food marked significantly. This presentation shows the results of a project that studied the use of germanium dioxide (GeO2) as a known growth inhibitor of diatoms to control their contamination during the biomass production process of U. fenestrata. First, the co-occurring diatom was morphologically identified as Fragilaria sp. using light microscopy. Thereafter, a dose-response experiment was conducted to reveal the concentrations of GeO2, resulting in an effective growth inhibition of Fragilaria sp. Based on this knowledge, the impact of different GeO2 concentrations was studied on how the photophysiolgy (photosynthetic characteristics, pigment patterns) and growth of U. fenestrata are affected in both small-scale (2 L) and large-scale (100 L) cultivation systems. An effective control of the proliferation of Fragilaria sp. during the cultivation process of U. fenestrata may result in the production a high-quality biomass with a high value for the food marked.

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Abstract

As the periodic emission of light pulses by light emitting diodes (LEDs) is known to stimulate growth or induce high value biocompounds in microalgae, this flashing light regime was tested on growth and biochemical composition of the microalgae Nannochloropsis gaditana, Koliella antarctica and Tetraselmis chui. At low flashing light frequencies (e.g., 5 and 50 Hz, Duty cycle = 0.05), a strain-dependent growth inhibition and an accumulation of protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, chlorophyll or carotenoids (lutein, β-carotene, violaxanthin and neoxanthin) was observed. In addition, a 4-day application of low-frequency flashing light to concentrated cultures increased productivities of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and specific carotenoids up to three-fold compared to continuous or high frequency flashing light (500 Hz, Duty cycle = 0.05). Therefore, applying low-frequency flashing light as finishing step in industrial production can increase protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids or pigment contents in biomass, leading to high-value algal products.

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Abstract

Light attenuation in photobioreactors is a major bottleneck in microalgal production. A possible strategy for artificial light-based microalgal production to deliver light deep inside the culture is through the periodical emission of high intensity light flashes (so-called flashing light). However, our results did not show improved photosynthetic rates compared to continuous light for dilute and concentrated Tetraselmis chui cultures exposed to flashing light with various repetition rates (frequencies 0.01 Hz–1 MHz), light-dark ratios (duty cycles: 0.001–0.7) or time-averaged light intensity (50–1000 μmol s−1 m−2). Likewise, flashing light applied to Chlorella stigmatophora and T. chui batch cultures could not enhance growth. However, we observed flashing light effects at different duty cycles and frequencies, depending on cell acclimation, culture concentration, and light intensity. In conclusion, artificial flashing light does not improve microalgal biomass productivities in photobioreactors, but low frequencies (f < 50 Hz) may be still used to improve light harvesting-associated biomolecules production.

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Abstract

Species of the genus Ulva (Chlorophyta) are regarded as opportunistic organisms, which efficiently adjust their metabolism to the prevailing environmental conditions. In this study changes in chlorophyll‐a fluorescence‐based photoinhibition of photosynthesis, electron transport rates, photosynthetic pigments, lipid peroxidation, total phenolic compounds and antioxidant metabolism were investigated during a diurnal cycle of natural solar radiation in summer (for 12 h) under two treatments: photosynthetically active radiation (PAR: 400‐700 nm) and PAR+ ultraviolet (UV) radiation (280‐700 nm). In presence of PAR alone, Ulva rigida showed dynamic photoinhibition, and photosynthetic parameters and pigment concentrations decreased with the intensification of the radiation. On the other hand, under PAR+UV condition a substantial decline up to 43% was detected and an incomplete fluorescence recovery, also, P‐I curve values remained low in relation to the initial condition. The phenolic compounds increased their concentration only in UV radiation treatments without showing a correlation with the antioxidant activity. SOD and APX activities increased over 2‐fold respect at initial values during the onset of light intensity. In contrast, CAT increased its activity rapidly in response to the radiation stress to reach maxima at 10:00 h and decreasing during solar. The present study suggests that U. rigida is capability to acclimate to natural radiation stress relies on a concerted action of various physiological mechanisms that act at different times of the day and under different levels of environmental stress.

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Abstract

Carbonic anhydrase (CA) plays an important physiological role in all biological systems by accelerating the interconversion of CO2 and HCO3 −. In algae, CA is essential for photosynthesis: external CA (CAext) dehydrates HCO3 −, enhancing the supply of CO2 to the cell surface, and internal CA (CAint) interconverts HCO3 − and CO2 to maintain the inorganic carbon (Ci) pool and supply CO2 to RuBisCO. We frst conducted a literature review comparing the conditions in which CA extraction and measurement have been carried out, using the commonly used Wilbur–Anderson method. We found that the assay has been widely modifed since its introduction in 1948, mostly without being optimized for the species tested. Based on the review, an optimized protocol for measuring CA in Macrocystis pyrifera was developed, which showed that the assay conditions can strongly afect CA activity. Tris–HCl bufer gave the highest levels of CA activity, but phosphate bufer reduced activity signifcantly. Bufers containing polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and dithiothreitol (DTT) stabilized CA. Using the optimized assay, CAext and CAint activities were readily measured in Macrocystis with higher precision compared to the non-optimized method. The CAint activity was 2×higher than CAext, which is attributed to the Ci uptake mechanisms of Macrocystis. This study suggests that the CA assay needs to be optimized for each species prior to experimental work to obtain both accurate and precise results.