Photosynthate partitioning in cultured marine phytoplankton. I. Dinoflagellates

Gary L. Hitchcock

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44 Scopus citations


The distribution of assimilated 14C in perchloric acid-soluble, CHCl3-soluble, trichloroacetic acid-soluble and residual particulate material was examined as a function of time in five dinoflagellates, a diatom, and a chrysophycean flagellate. The four fractions correspond to low molecular-weight materials, lipids, polysaccharides, and proteins, respectively. Quantitative measurements of lipids, polysaccharides, and proteins in solvent fractions show this extraction scheme readily isolated lipids and, to a lesser extent, proteins; polysaccharides were not quantitatively recovered by a single solvent in any of three methods examined. Four hours was usually sufficient to achieve a constant proportion of 14C in the solvent fractions. Dinoflagellates had relatively less 14C in perchloric acid-soluble material, and more 14C in particulate material, than the diatom or chrysophycean flagellate; this pattern may be the result of large amounts of labelled, nonextractable structural material in the dinoflagellates or other biochemical differences between dinoflagellates and other phytoplankton. The proportion of 14C in dinoflagellate CHCl3-soluble and particulate material approximated that estimated as cellular lipid-carbon and protein-carbon; polysaccharide-carbon, however, was not proportional to that in TCA-soluble material. The partitioning of 14C in marine phytoplankton reflects the time of incubation and the solubility of cellular polymers in solvents, as well as the cell environment. All three factors should be considered when relating the 14C distribution of natural populations to environmental influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-36
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 18 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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