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The nutrient status of algal cells in continuous culture

  • M. R. Droop (a1)

Chemostats were used to study the relation between growth rate, the rate of nutrient uptake and internal and external nutrient concentrations of two nutrients simultaneously. (Monochrysis lutheri: phosphorus and vitamin B12.)

Growth rate and internal concentrations of both limiting and excess nutrients are related by simple rectangular hyperbolas.

Control was shown to follow a threshold rather than multiplicative pattern; that is, non-limiting nutrients exert no control at all over the pattern of growth. The limiting nutrient was the one that showed the smallest cell quota: subsistence quota ratio.

Monochrysis populations exhibited two modes of growth. ‘Slow adapted cells’ differed from ‘fast adapted cells’ in the values of the constants for the above relation.

Uptake of both limiting and non-limiting nutrients was found to be controlled by internal as well as external substrate concentrations. There was thus a limit to luxury consumption of one nutrient when growth was limited by another.

The mathematical model formulated for growth in a chemostat (equations (23)–(29)) allowed prediction of external and internal substrate concentrations and rates of uptake of two nutrients and of biomass, given only the input concentrations of the two nutrients and the dilution rate. This model should apply equally well to growth in batch cultures; its possible application to natural populations was discussed.

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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