A metabolomic approach to investigate effects of ocean acidification on a polar microalga Chlorella sp.

Yong Hao Tan, Phaik Eem Lim, John Beardall, Sze Wan Poong, Siew Moi Phang

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Ocean acidification, due to increased levels of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, is known to affect the physiology and growth of marine phytoplankton, especially in polar regions. However, the effect of acidification or carbonation on cellular metabolism in polar marine phytoplankton still remains an open question. There is some evidence that small chlorophytes may benefit more than other taxa of phytoplankton. To understand further how green polar picoplankton could acclimate to high oceanic CO2, studies were conducted on an Antarctic Chlorella sp. Chlorella sp. maintained its growth rate (∼0.180 d-1), photosynthetic quantum yield (Fv/Fm = ∼0.69) and chlorophyll a (0.145 fg cell-1) and carotenoid (0.06 fg cell-1) contents under high CO2, while maximum rates of electron transport decreased and non-photochemical quenching increased under elevated CO2. GCMS-based metabolomic analysis reveal that this polar Chlorella strain modulated the levels of metabolites associated with energy, amino acid, fatty acid and carbohydrate production, which could favour its survival in an increasingly acidified ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105349
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Antarctic
  • CO
  • Marine phytoplankton
  • Metabolomics
  • Ocean acidification

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