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Factors controlling the production of domoic acid by Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae): a model study
Terseleer, N.; Gypens, N.; Lancelot, C. (2013). Factors controlling the production of domoic acid by Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae): a model study. Harmful Algae 24: 45-53.
In: Harmful Algae. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam; Shannon; Paris. ISSN 1568-9883, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 280354 [ OMA ]

    Pseudo-nitzschia H.Peragallo, 1900 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Harmful algal blooms; Pseudo-nitzschia; Domoic acid; Mechanisticmodelling

Authors  Top 

    A mechanistic model has been developed to explore the factors controlling the production of domoic acid (DA) by the pennate diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. The idealized model allows consideration of the uncoupling between photosynthesis and growth, while DA production has been set as a secondary metabolism sharing common precursors with growth. Under growth limitation, these precursors can accumulate, resulting in an increased DA production. The model was first evaluated based on its ability to simulate the observed DA production by either silicon (Si) or phosphorus (P) limited batch cultures of Pseudo-nitzschia available in the literature. Sensitivity tests were further performed to explore how the ambient nutrients and the light regime (intensity and photoperiod length) are possibly directing the Pseudo-nitzschia toxicity. The general pattern that emerged is that excess light, in combination with Si or P limitation, favours DA production, provided nitrogen (N) is sufficient. Model simulations with varying nutrient stocks supporting Pseudo-nitzschia blooms under non-limiting light suggest two potential ways for nutrients to control DA production. First, N excess in comparison to available Si and P relieves DA production from its limitation by N, an absolute requirement of the DA molecule. Second, increased nutrient stocks amplify the DA production phase of the blooms (in addition to enhancing Pseudo-nitzschia biomass) which leads to an even more toxigenic bloom. Simulations investigating the light regime suggest a light threshold below which an important delay in DA production could be expected in Pseudo-nitzschia cultures. In the natural environment, the monitoring of light conditions during Pseudo-nitzschia blooms might help to anticipate the magnitude of the toxic event. Pseudo-nitzschia toxicity is indeed linked to the excess of primary carbon that accumulates during photosynthesis under growth limitation by nutrients.

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