Dimethyl sulfoniopropionate and dimethyl sulfide production in response to photoinhibition in Emiliania huxleyi

Stephen D. Archer, Maria Ragni, R. Webster, Ruth L. Airs, Richard J. Geider

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The response in intracellular dimethyl sulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dissolved DMSP and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) concentrations when Emiliania huxleyi was exposed to acute (1-h) increases in photon flux densities of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet (UV) radiation was examined in cells acclimated to low light (LL, 30 µmol photons m-2 s-1) and high light (HL, 300 vmol photons m-2 s-1). LL-acclimated cells displayed greater photoinhibition, assessed as a decrease in maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv : Fm). Photoinhibition was increased by exposure to UV wavelengths. LL-acclimated cells also exhibited more light dissipation through the xanthophyll cycle, evident as changes in de-epoxidation state. Greater photoinhibition in LL-acclimated cells corresponded with increased accumulation of DMSP of 21% ± 4% relative to initial concentrations, contrasting with a slight decrease of 5% ± 6% in HL-acclimated cells. Exposure to UV appeared to decrease the rates of intracellular accumulation of DMSP. Conversely, PAR + UV exposure stimulated the net production of dissolved DMSP and DMS in both HL-acclimated and LL-acclimated cultures, compared with high PAR alone. The results indicate a direct link between acute photo-oxidative stress and DMSP synthesis by E. huxleyi. The physiological basis for increased release of DMSP and DMS from cells due to high PAR + UV exposure is unclear. However, the timescales of changes in intracellular DMSP, dissolved DMSP, and DMS are consistent with variations in light intensity experienced by phytoplankton in a turbulent mixed layer and are similar to rates of change in photosynthetic parameters associated with photoacclimation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1579-1589
Number of pages11
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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