Effects of temperature, irradiance and photoperiod on growth and pigment content in some freshwater red algae in culture
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The responses of relative growth rate (% day-1) and pigment content (chlorophyll a, phycocyanin and phycoerythrin) to temperature, irradiance and photoperiod were analyzed in culture in seven freshwater red algae: Audouinella hermannii (Roth) Duby, Audouinella pygmaea (Kützing) Weber-van Bosse, Batrachospermum ambiguum Montagne, Batrachospermum delicatulum (Skuja) Necchi et Entwisle, 'Chantransia' stages of B. delicatulum and Batrachospermum macrosporum Montagne and Compsopogon coeruleus (C. Agardh) Montagne. Experimental conditions included temperatures of 10, 15, 20 and 25°C and low and high irradiances (65 and 300 μmol photons m-2 s-1, respectively). Long and short day lengths (16:8 and 8:16 LD cycles) were also applied at the two irradiances. Growth effects of temperature and irradiance were evident in most algae tested, and there were significant interactions among treatments. Most freshwater red algae had the best growth under low irradiance, confirming the preference of freshwater red algae for low light regimens. In general there was highest growth rate in long days and low irradiance. Growth optima in relation to temperature were species-specific and also varied between low and high irradiances for the same alga. The most significant differences in pigment content were related to temperature, whereas few significant differences could be attributed to variation in irradiance and photoperiod or interactions among the three parameters. The responses were species-specific and also differed for pigments in distinct temperatures, irradiances and photoperiods in the same alga. Phycocyanin was generally more concentrated than phycoerythrin and phycobiliproteins were more concentrated than chlorophyll a. The highest total pigment contents were found in two species typical of shaded habitats: A. hermannii and C. coeruleus. The expected inverse relationship of pigment with irradiance was observed only in C. coeruleus. In general, the most favorable conditions for growth were not coincident with those with highest pigment contents.