Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 6, 2021

The effects of phosphate on physiological responses and carbohydrate production in Ulva fasciata (Chlorophyta) from upwelling and non-upwelling sites

Tiphane Andrade Figueira ORCID logo, Nuno Tavares Martins, Lígia Ayres-Ostrock, Estela M. Plastino, Alex Enrich-Prast and Vinícius Peruzzi de Oliveira
From the journal Botanica Marina
An erratum for this article can be found here:


Phosphorus is a key macronutrient in macroalgal physiology, including carbohydrate anabolism. To determine the effects of phosphorus on different physiological parameters, we cultivated Ulva fasciata specimens from distinct localities (upwelling and non-upwelling sites) in the presence of different phosphate concentrations (0, 2, and 4 µM PO43). After 15 days, growth rates were similar (approx. 12% day−1) and carbohydrate contents had increased in individuals from both sites. In individuals from the upwelling site, carbohydrate contents were high in all treatments (71% dry mass), whereas non-upwelling site individuals cultivated under the highest phosphate concentration showed the lowest carbohydrate content (46% DM). Nevertheless, we observed higher rates of phosphorus uptake in individuals from the non-upwelling site cultivated under the highest phosphate concentration, indicating a stress response to elevated nutrient concentrations. Individuals from both sites cultivated with phosphate maintained healthy photosystems over the experimental period (Fv/Fm = 0.788), whereas those cultivated in the absence of phosphate showed evidence of photosystem impairment, as indicated by a progressive decline in maximum quantum yield. Altogether, our results indicate that site origin and phosphate concentration influence the carbohydrate content in U. fasciata and that individuals from sites with broad environmental variation, such as upwelling events, can show higher productivity.

Corresponding author: Tiphane Andrade Figueira, Multiuser Unit of Environmental Analysis, Institute of Biology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rua Carlos Chagas Filho, 373 - Interbloco A/F, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902, Brazil, E-mail:

Funding source: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES)

Funding source: Brazilian National Council of Technological and Scientific Development

Award Identifier / Grant number: 130061/2015-8

Award Identifier / Grant number: 300148/93-3

Funding source: São Paulo Research Foundation

Award Identifier / Grant number: 2014/22349-8


The authors acknowledge Rosário Petti for the assistance with cultivation and Dr. Ricardo Cesar Gonçalves Pollery for the assistance in nutrient and total carbohydrate analyses.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: This study was partially financed by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001, the Brazilian National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq, 130061/2015-8; 300148/93-3) and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, 2014/22349-8) to NTM.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2020-08-07
Accepted: 2020-12-18
Published Online: 2021-01-06
Published in Print: 2021-02-23

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