Impact of nutrient starvation on the biochemical composition of the marine diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii: from the whole cell to the frustule fraction
1Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement Marin, UMR 6539, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzané, France
2Laboratoire de Physiologie et d'Ecophysiologie des Mollusques Marins, UMR 100 IFREMER, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Esplanade de la paix BP 5186, 14032 Caen Cedex, France
3Laboratoire Microbiologie, Géochimie et Ecologie Marines, UMR 6117 CNRS – INSU, Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille, Campus de Luminy, 13288 Marseille, Cedex 9, France
Abstract. Interactions between carbon and silica in the diatom frustule play an important role in carbon export through their impact on diatom remineralization (carbon degradation and biogenic silica dissolution). To ameliorate model prediction of the fate of Si and organic matter during sedimentation, there is a need to first understand the origin and nature of Si-OC interactions, their impact on diatom remineralization and their variability with environmental conditions. In this study we focus on the impact of nutrient starvations on the formation and nature of these interactions in an ubiquitous diatom, Thalassiosira weissflogii. Fluorescence reveals the strong impact of all starvations on diatom metabolism while Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy clearly showed that starvations altered the composition of the different diatom fractions. The relative compositions of whole cells were almost not impacted by starvations except Si(OH)4 starvation that slightly increased proteins relative contribution while decreasing carbohydrate. Starvation impacts became obvious looking at the composition of the different part of the diatom. The relative biochemical composition of the organic coating, protecting the frustule from the environment, was strongly affected by starvation. Under nitrate starvation, carbohydrate contribution increased while protein contribution decreased. Inversely, phosphate starvation increased the proportion of proteins and decreased carbohydrates contribution. Starvations also modified the different frustule phases. bSiO2 contribution decreased in the less reactive phase under silicate and phosphate starvation whereas nitrate starvation rather increased carbohydrate and protein pools. Phosphate starvation also led to an important shift of dominance among protein groups between amide I and amide II which compounds are suspected to play a key role in the frustule synthesis and architecture. Nutrient starvations affected the relative biochemical composition of diatom frustule fractions and organic coating which could imply a strong impact on frustule structure and architecture but also on frustule mechanical and chemical resistance.