Comparative Salt Stress Study on Intracellular Ion Concentration in Marine and Salt-adapted Freshwater Strains of Microalgae
Salinity imposes significant stresses in various living organisms including microalgae. High extracellular concentration of Na+ directly influences ionic balance inside the cell and subsequently the cellular activities. In the present study, the effect of such stress on growth and intracellular ions concentration (IIC) of Dunaliella salina and Chlorella Spp. was investigated. IIC was analyzed using Ion chromatography technique. D. salina showed the highest degree of resistance to increase in salinity as little changes occurred both in IIC and in growth parameters. D. salina could maintain the balance of K+ inside the cell and eject the excess Na+ even at NaCl concentrations above 1M. Moreover, D. salina accumulated β-carotene in order to protect its photosynthetic apparatus. Among Chlorella species, C. vulgaris showed signs of adaptation to high content of salinity, though it is a fresh water species by nature. Moreover, the response shown by C. vulgaris to rise in salinity was even stronger than that of C. salina, which is presumably a salt-water resistant species. In fact, C. vulgaris could maintain intracellular K+ better than C. salina in response to increasing salinity, and as a result, it could survive at NaCl concentrations as high as 0.75 M. Marine strains such as D. salina well cope with the fluctuations in salinity through the existing adaptation mechanisms i.e. maintaining the K+/N+ balance inside the cell, K+ accumulation and Na+ ejection, accumulation of photosynthetic pigments like β-carotene.
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