Microalgae: Current Research and Applications
Caister Academic Press
Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA and University of Southampton, Hampshire, UK
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Microalgae, also known as phytoplankton, are abundant microorganisms, which are found in freshwater and marine environments. Phytoplankton are critical to global biogeochemistry since they produce the bulk of oxygen on Earth through photosynthesis. They form the base of the marine food web and are primary producers of organic carbon. Microalgal species can synthesize high value chemical products, such as carotenoids, antioxidants, fatty acids, and sterols. Most recently, microalgae have become an attractive raw material of biofuel, in the form of biodiesel.
In this concise book, expert authors describe the latest research and newest approaches to the study of these important organisms, as well as covering the more traditional methods such as morphotaxonomy. The reader is first provided with practical information on cultivation of phytoplankton, growth media and division rates for different algal species, optical techniques and automated instrumentation, such as flow cytometry. Furthermore, methods and approaches to study gene expression and regulation in phytoplankton are reviewed. A separate chapter is dedicated to the discussion of algal blooms and their effects on local environments. Coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi and bioluminescent microalgae are thoroughly reviewed by experts in those fields. Finally, this book reviews the state-of-the-art of microfluidic and in situ sensors for phytoplankton identification.
This volume is an authoritative and contemporary review of current research on microalgae. It could be an indispensable tool for anyone working in this field, or who wishes to learn more about these microorganisms.
Table of contents
Maria-Nefeli Tsaloglou and Carmelo R. Tomas
An introduction to Microalgae
2. The Cultivation of Marine Phytoplankton
Maria G.S. Jutson, Richard K. Pipe and Carmelo R. Tomas
The isolation and cultivation of phytoplankton can be an essential, and also satisfying, process for studying microalgae, in detail. Most species reproduce asexually, therefore establishment of unique strains in culture is relatively straightforward. Within the context of this chapter, the term strain will be used to define a genetically homogenous clone propagated from an individual microalgal cell. In essence, individual cells are isolated and placed in a suitable environment for growth. However, the actual process of establishing permanent cultures involves many steps and can entail prolonged periods of time. The validity of using cultured cells, as a model for physiological function, requires that culture conditions should resemble the natural environment as closely as possible. This chapter will review methods for cell isolation, sterilization and culture maintenance conditions. We will go through the different types of culture methods, as well as the many and varied kinds of cell enumeration, which is key to culture maintenance.
3. Phytoplankton Gene Expression
John H. Paul
Phytoplankton photosynthesis accounts for 50% of the primary production on our planet and forms the base of marine food webs. Phytoplankton can form toxic blooms, take up and release greenhouse gasses, and be responsible for fueling the biological pump. The availability of genomes of several marine phytoplankton including diatoms and expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries of several dinoflagellates have opened the door for understanding gene expression and regulation in this globally important group of photoautotrophs. This review documents early work in phytoplankton gene expression through current studies in marine phytoplanktonic transcriptomes and proteomes. All informatics analyses are hampered by the lack of reliable gene annotations. Progress is being made in gene function identification through the use of endogenous gene silencing mechanisms. Understanding the control of gene networks is in its infancy but promises to be a fertile area of research for the next generation of phytoplankton ocean scientists.
4. Marine Microalgae and Harmful Algal Blooms: A European Perspective
Johanne Arff and Belén Martìn Miguez
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a global phenomenon impacting both wild life and human health; especially the effects of toxin-producing microalgae can be severe, and monitoring programs have been established as a risk reducing measure. However, recent research has demonstrated that HAB species that previously were believed to have a restricted geographical distribution have spread to new areas. Moreover, monitoring programs on seafood safety are often designed to detect harmful algae and biotoxins already known in an area; thus the establishment of new HAB species might not be detected until the effects of a HAB event is evident (i.e. fish killings or human seafood poisoning). Furthermore, an increased understanding of the links between oceanographic conditions and the development of HABs, as well as their toxic properties will be important in future monitoring of HAB species.
5. Emiliania huxleyi in the Genomic Era
Bethan M. Jones, Mónica Rouco, M. Débora Iglesias-Rodriguez and Kimberly H. Halsey
Emiliania huxleyi is a globally abundant coccolithophore species that plays a significant biogeochemical role in modern oceans. The species has become an important model organism, with extensive research conducted on its responses to carbon chemistry, light regimes and nutrient dynamics. In the years since the seminal review on E. huxleyi by Paasche (2002), the field of microbial oceanography has been revolutionized by the increasing application of genomic and post-genomic technology. Paasche intended his review as a starting point for future molecular studies on coccolithophores, a field that in 2002 was described as "barely in its infancy". This chapter revisits Paasche (2002), using the review as a framework to describe how our knowledge of E. huxleyi has progressed since these tools have become more commonly applied. The same key areas that Paasche addressed are focused upon, namely how the morphology, diversity, life cycle and physiology of this species affects calcification. This is used to provide avenues for future research and suggest directions to help answer many of the questions still posed regarding the biology of this globally important yet seemingly enigmatic organism.
6. Bioluminescent Microalgae
Martha Valiadi, Charlotte L. J. Marcinko, Christos M. Loukas and M. Débora Iglesias-Rodriguez
Some phytoplankton species, specifically members of the dinoflagellates, possess the remarkable ability to produce bioluminescence. Many bioluminescent species are globally distributed and some form blooms, which may sometimes be harmful. The bioluminescence system of dinoflagellates is unique from a biochemical, cellular and evolutionary perspective. Regulatory aspects of bioluminescence in relation to cell physiology remain largely unknown, as does the ecological niche of light-producing organisms. Meanwhile, in the field, bioluminescence has been used to study ecological dynamics within the plankton and to monitor toxic blooms. Studies on dinoflagellate bioluminescence have shed light on fundamental processes like cellular mechanotransduction, circadian rhythms and evolution of gene structure. The molecular components of the reaction have been used as reporters in biomedical applications and whole cells have been used to visualize fluid flow. Herein, we introduce key concepts and discuss current research that involves bioluminescent dinoflagellates. The research being conducted spans several different fundamental and applied fields, highlighting the vast benefits that dinoflagellate bioluminescence studies offer to biology and engineering.
7. Microfluidics and in situ Sensors for Microalgae
Phytoplankton are important in global biogeochemistry since they produce the bulk of oxygen on Earth through photosynthesis. They form the base of the marine food web and are primary producers of organic carbon. Some species produce polyether toxins, thus forming harmful algal blooms that can have detrimental effects on local fauna and flora. For these reasons, phytoplankton monitoring in the oceans is critical. It can provide insight to climate change, microbial ecology, biogeochemical cycles and health toxicity of recreational waters. Currently, the oceans are vastly under-sampled and in situ sensors and sensor networks can address this need for sampling. Miniaturised and microfluidic sensors are increasingly being used for phytoplankton monitoring with great promise for future applications. This chapter will provide an overview of traditional methods of phytoplankton analysis, introduce microfluidics, and review the state-of-the art in miniaturised and in situ sensors for algal detection in the oceans.
How to buy this book
(EAN: 9781910190272 9781910190289 Subjects: [microbiology] [bacteriology] [molecular microbiology] [environmental microbiology] )