Lipid analysis of Phaeodactylum tricornutum in response to trans trans 2,4 decadienal stress




Byrwa, Brian Christopher

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Considering the nature of increasing global temperatures associated with elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as a result of increased demand for energy, it is notable to consider viable options to reduce the strain that these increased carbon dioxide emissions are having on the overall impact of the global climate. Phaeodactylum tricornutum, a marine phytoplankton may be utilized to this end. Its unique ability to increase lipid production under environmental stress conditions, in particular those lipids that can easily be converted into biodiesel, make it an ideal candidate for this use. Here, we examine the effects of trans trans 2,4 decadienal (or DD for short), an aldehyde that is known to induce cell death in the diatom at high concentrations, as they relate to changes in the lipid biosynthesis pathway. 100 ml Axenic cultures of the diatom P. tricornutum were grown to exponential stage, harvested and treated with decadienal at a concentration of 5[mu]g/ml to determine effects on lipid production after 24 hours. Qualitative analysis undertaken using Nile red staining of treated and untreated cells indicated increased fluorescence of treated cells compared to unstained water controls, however this increase may not be attributable to increased lipid production due to the fact that cells were unfixed and must be verified through other means. Initial attempts to verify this finding through thin layer chromatography and qPCR were inconclusive.



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