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The thiamine (vitamin B1) content of phytoplankton is affected by temperature, photon density and salinity
Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Ecological Botany.
Department of Systems Ecology, Stockohlm University.
(English)In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, ISSN 0171-8630, E-ISSN 1616-1599Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Thiamine (vitamin B1) is produced by plants, algae and bacteria and must be acquired through the food web by higher trophic levels. In this study we investigate the biosynthesis of thiamine in six phytoplankton species belonging to five different phyla under different environmental conditions. The chlorophyte Dunaliella tertiolecta, the dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum and the prymnesiophyte Rhodomonas salina were found to be thiamine auxotrophs, while the cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena and the diatoms Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Skeletonema costatum were capable of thiamine synthesis. Measured net thiamine production in the latter three species varied with temperature, photon density and salinity. These effects were different for the cyanobacterium and the diatoms and strongest for salinity. In N. spumigena, the total thiamine concentration increased threefold with increased salinity. P. tricornutum accumulated seven times more thiamine diphosphate when salinity was decreased. Temperature also had pronounced effects on thiamine concentration, while photon density only affected thiamine levels in combination with temperature. In N. spumigena and P. tricornutum, total thiamine levels increased with higher temperature. We demonstrate a high variability among phytoplankton species in thiamine biosynthesis, as well as in the level of thiamine production in response to environmental factors. Thus, regime shifts in phytoplankton community composition through large-scale environmental change can alter the vitamin B1 availability for higher trophic levels. This may have serious consequences for the access of zooplankton, fish, birds and mammals to this essential vitamin in changing ecosystems.


Keyword [en]
phytoplankton, thiamine, M74, Vitamin B1
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130139OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-130139DiVA: diva2:346642
Available from: 2010-09-02 Created: 2010-09-02 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Dynamics of astaxanthin, tocopherol (Vitamin E) and thiamine (Vitamin B1) in the Baltic Sea ecosystem: Bottom-up effects in an aquatic food web
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dynamics of astaxanthin, tocopherol (Vitamin E) and thiamine (Vitamin B1) in the Baltic Sea ecosystem: Bottom-up effects in an aquatic food web
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis combines laboratory experiments and field expeditions to study production, transfer and consumption of non-enzymatic antioxidants and thiamine in an aquatic food web. In particular, I (1) documented spatial and seasonal variation of tocopherols and carotenoids in the Baltic Sea pelagic food web, and (2) examined the effects of abiotic and biotic factors on tocopherol, carotenoid and thiamine concentrations in phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish.

Moderate differences in temperature and salinity affected α-tocopherol, β-carotene and thiamine production in microalgae. Furthermore, the results suggest that acute stress favors the expression of non-enzymatic antioxidants rather than enzymatic antioxidants. Because production of α-tocopherol, β-carotene and thiamine differ markedly between microalgae, the availability of non-enzymatic antioxidants and thiamine is likely to be highly variable in the Baltic Sea and is difficult to predict.

The transfer of non-enzymatic antioxidants from phytoplankton to zooplankton was biomass dependent. The field expeditions revealed that phytoplankton biomass was negatively associated with α-tocopherol concentration in mesozooplankton. Thus, increased eutrophication of the Baltic Sea followed by an increase in phytoplankton biomass could decrease the transfer of essential biochemicals to higher levels in the pelagic food web. This could lead to deficiency syndromes, of the kind already observed in the Baltic Sea. Astaxanthin is synthesized from precursors provided by the phytoplankton community. Thus biomass dependent transfer of astaxanthin precursors from phytoplankton to zooplankton could be responsible for astaxanthin deficiency in zooplanktivorous herring. Astaxanthin in herring consists mostly of all-Z-isomers, which are characterized by low bioavailability. Therefore, astaxanthin deficiency in salmon could be explained by the low concentration of this substance and its isomeric composition in herring.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. 47 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 762
Baltic Sea, carotenoids, astaxanthin, tocopherols, Vitamin E, thiamine, Vitamin B1, pelagic food web, eutrophication, M74, phytoplankton, zooplankton, sprat, Sprattus sprattus balticus, herring, Clupea harengus, salmon, Salmo salar, cod, Gadus morhua, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), electrochemical detection (ECD)
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130143 (URN)978-91-554-7878-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-10-15, Lindahlsalen, Norbyvägen 18, EBC, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2010-09-23 Created: 2010-09-02 Last updated: 2011-01-10

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