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  • Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Volume 54, Issue 4
  • November 1974, pp. 825-855

The nutrient status of algal cells in continuous culture

  • M. R. Droop (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

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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J. Caperon , 1968. Population growth response of Isochrysis galbana to nitrate variation at limiting concentrations. Ecology, 49, 866–72.

K. W. Daisley , 1961. Gel filtration of sea water: separation of free and bound forms of vitamin B12. Nature, London, 191, 868–9.

M. R. Droop , 1970. Vitamin B12 and marine ecology. V. Continuous culture as an approach to nutritional kinetics. Helgoländer wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen, 20, 629–36.

M. R. Droop , 1973a. Nutrient limitation in osmotrophic Protista. American Zoologist, 13, 209–14.

M. R. Droop 1973b. Some thoughts on nutrient limitation in algae. Journal of Phycology, 9, 264–72.

R. W. Eppley & E. M. Renger , 1974. On the coupling between nitrogen uptake and growth in a marine diatom. Journal of Phycology, 10, 1523.

R. W. Eppley , J. N. Rogers & J. J. McCarthy , 1968. Half saturation constants for uptake of nitrate and ammonium by marine phytoplankton. Limnology and Oceanography, 14, 912–20.

R. W. Eppley & W. H. Thomas , 1969. Comparison of half saturation constants for growth and nitrate uptake of marine phytoplankton. Journal of Phycology, 5, 375–9.

G. W. Fuhs , 1969. Phosphorus content and rate of growth in the diatoms Cyclotella nana and Thalassiosira fluviatilis. Journal of Phycology, 5, 312–21.

E. Paasche , 1973a. Silicon and the ecology of marine plankton diatoms. I. Thalassicsira pseudonana (Cyclotella nana) grown in a chemostat with silicate as limiting nutrient Marine Biology, 19, 117–26.

E. Paasche , 1973b. Silicon and the ecology of marine plankton diatoms. II. Silicate uptake kinetics in five diatom species. Marine Biology, 19, 262–9.

W. H. Thomas & A. N. Dodson , 1968. Effects of phosphate concentration on cell division rates and yield of a tropical oceanic diatom. Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass., 134, 199208.

R. T. Wright & J. E. Hobbie 1966. Use of glucose and acetate by bacteria and algae in aquatic ecosystems. Ecology, 47, 447–64.

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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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