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Phycology, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 10 articles

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22 pages, 7388 KiB  
Article
Qualitative Model of the Causal Interactions between Phytoplankton, Zooplankton, and Environmental Factors in the Romanian Black Sea
by Elena Bișinicu, Laura Boicenco, Elena Pantea, Florin Timofte, Luminița Lazăr and Oana Vlas
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 168-189; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010010 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 469
Abstract
In order to analyze how environmental factors affect planktonic organisms along the Romanian Black Sea coast, this study created semi-quantitative models of the causal relationships between phytoplankton, zooplankton, and physicochemical parameters by utilizing user-friendly modeling tools. Eleven years of time-series data (March–September 2008–2018) [...] Read more.
In order to analyze how environmental factors affect planktonic organisms along the Romanian Black Sea coast, this study created semi-quantitative models of the causal relationships between phytoplankton, zooplankton, and physicochemical parameters by utilizing user-friendly modeling tools. Eleven years of time-series data (March–September 2008–2018) were used to investigate the relationships between phytoplankton, zooplankton, and environmental factors (such as temperature, salinity, and nutrients). Variables such as marine reporting units and phytoplankton species and classes were used to identify developmental patterns, utilizing the Mental Modeler platform to consider interactions between the physicochemical parameters and phytoplankton, phytoplankton and zooplankton, and zooplankton and physicochemical parameters. Although the increase in the overall number of elements and linkages was uncertain in waters with variable salinity compared to marine ones, the semi-quantitative models created for the three marine reporting units along the Romanian Black Sea coast were comparable in terms of complexity. Across the typical and examined types of phytoplankton proliferation (normal, abundant, and blooms), the number of components and connections in the case of phytoplankton blooms substantially decreased as species- and growth-promoting variables increased. Full article
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15 pages, 1684 KiB  
Review
Is Africa Ready to Use Phycoremediation to Treat Domestic Wastewater as an Alternative Natural Base Solution? A Case Study
by Paul J. Oberholster, Yolandi Schoeman and Anna-Maria Botha
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 153-167; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010009 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 625
Abstract
This review outlines the potential of phycoremediation as a natural, cost-effective solution for domestic wastewater treatment in Africa, particularly focusing on its application in less densely populated and rural areas. The urgency of improving sanitation access, a key objective in both the Millennium [...] Read more.
This review outlines the potential of phycoremediation as a natural, cost-effective solution for domestic wastewater treatment in Africa, particularly focusing on its application in less densely populated and rural areas. The urgency of improving sanitation access, a key objective in both the Millennium Development Goals (2000–2015) and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015–2030), is underscored by the fact that half of Africa’s population suffers from diseases linked to inadequate water and sanitation facilities. South Africa, a focal point of this study, faces significant challenges in wastewater management. These include the limited capacity of wastewater treatment plants to handle the burgeoning wastewater volumes due to population growth, unregulated discharges causing fluctuating pollution levels, and high operational costs leading to improper sludge disposal and odor issues. Compounding these problems are frequent power outages, financial constraints impacting wastewater treatment plant operations and maintenance across Africa, and a lack of skilled personnel to manage these facilities. Full article
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14 pages, 3622 KiB  
Article
Pelagic Sargassum as a Potential Vector for Microplastics into Coastal Ecosystems
by Dalila Aldana Arana, Tania P. Gil Cortés, Víctor Castillo Escalante and Rosa E. Rodríguez-Martínez
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 139-152; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010008 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1577
Abstract
Macroalgal blooms are increasing globally, with those linked to pelagic Sargassum affecting over 30 nations since 2011. As Sargassum mats traverse the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, they entrap and transport plastic to coastal areas, intensifying pollution in diverse ecosystems. This research [...] Read more.
Macroalgal blooms are increasing globally, with those linked to pelagic Sargassum affecting over 30 nations since 2011. As Sargassum mats traverse the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, they entrap and transport plastic to coastal areas, intensifying pollution in diverse ecosystems. This research assessed microplastics (MPs) within Sargassum fluitans III collected from the northern Mexican Caribbean coast (March 2021 to January 2022). The study employed a hydrogen peroxide protocol for macroalgae pretreatment to optimize MP extraction. All samples analyzed contained MPs at monthly mean concentrations that ranged from 3.5 to 15.3 MPs g−1 DW, with fibers constituting ≥90%. Fiber colors, mainly transparent, blue, and black, exhibited diverse sizes and wear stages. The study underscores the pervasive and consistent presence of MPs in pelagic Sargassum reaching the Mexican Caribbean. Considering the documented Sargassum influxes to this coast in recent years (2789–11,297 tons km−1 yr−1), potential annual MP influxes range from 0.1 × 109 to 17.3 × 109 km−1 yr−1. Efficiently removing beach-cast Sargassum and directing it to landfills could serve as a viable strategy for the simultaneous removal of attached MPs from the ocean and coastal waters, offering a promising mitigation strategy to combat plastic pollution in the examined marine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Sargassum Golden Tides, a Global Problem)
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22 pages, 415 KiB  
Review
Reciprocal Effects of Metal Mixtures on Phytoplankton
by Ammara Nawaz, Pavlína Eliška Šotek and Marianna Molnárová
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 117-138; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010007 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Several types of contaminants are anthropogenically introduced into natural aquatic ecosystems and interact with other chemicals and/or with living organisms. Although metal toxicity alone has been relatively well studied, the toxic metal ion effects in the mixture have been thoroughly studied only during [...] Read more.
Several types of contaminants are anthropogenically introduced into natural aquatic ecosystems and interact with other chemicals and/or with living organisms. Although metal toxicity alone has been relatively well studied, the toxic metal ion effects in the mixture have been thoroughly studied only during the last decades. This review focuses on the published reciprocal effects of different metals on different species of algae, together with describing their toxic effects on studied parameters. Phytoplankton as a bioindicator can help to estimate the reciprocal metal risk factor. Many methodologies have been developed and explored, such as the biotic ligand model (BLM), concentration addition (CA), independent action (IA), sensitivity distribution of EC50 species sensitivity distribution (SSD curves), and others, to study reciprocal metal toxicity and provide promising results, which are briefly mentioned too. From our review, we can commonly conclude the following: Zn acted antagonistically with most heavy metals (Al, Cu, Cd, and Ni). The Cu interaction with Cd, Fe, and Pb was mostly antagonistic. Cd showed synergistic behaviour with Hg, Cu, Zn, and Pb and antagonistic behaviour with Co and Fe in many cases. Methods and techniques need to be developed and optimised to determine reciprocal metal toxicity so that the ecotoxicological predictions made by using phytoplankton can be more accurate and related to real-time toxic metals risks to the aquatic ecosystem. This is the main objective of ecotoxicological tests for risk assessment. Understanding how metals enter algal cells and organelles can help to solve this challenge and was one of the main parts of the review. Full article
13 pages, 4120 KiB  
Article
Helicoid Morphology of Arthrospira platensis NIES-39 Confers Temperature Compensation in the Longitudinal Movement Velocity of Its Trichomes
by Hideaki Shiraishi, Mari Sasase and Ayano Sakaida Nakashima
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 104-116; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010006 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 606
Abstract
The velocity of the gliding movement of filamentous cyanobacteria on a solid surface usually has a strong temperature dependency, and the higher the temperature, the faster the speed. Former studies on this phenomenon were conducted using filamentous cyanobacteria with straight morphology. We examined [...] Read more.
The velocity of the gliding movement of filamentous cyanobacteria on a solid surface usually has a strong temperature dependency, and the higher the temperature, the faster the speed. Former studies on this phenomenon were conducted using filamentous cyanobacteria with straight morphology. We examined the velocity of the gliding movement of Arthrospira platensis NIES-39 along its longitudinal axis to see if the same was true for this cyanobacterium with helicoid trichomes. Experimental results showed little temperature dependency in the velocity in a wide temperature range in this cyanobacterium. However, when we examined the velocity using mutants with straight trichomes, their velocity was strongly affected by temperature, like other formerly analyzed filamentous cyanobacteria. This result indicates that the helicoid morphology of A. platensis trichomes confers temperature compensation to their migration velocity, enabling them to keep a relatively constant velocity under various temperatures. Migration of wild-type trichomes is considerably suppressed compared to the straight-trichome mutants on solid media. The temperature compensation in the locomotion of this organism appears to be established as part of such a suppression. It was also found that the velocity of this cyanobacterium depended on the trichome length when they were atypically short (<250 µm); the shorter the trichomes, the slower the gliding movement tended to be. This result indicates that the coordinated action of a high number of cells constituting the trichome is required for efficient gliding movement. Full article
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17 pages, 3583 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Cell Rupture Techniques for the Extraction of Proteins from the Microalgae Tetradesmus obliquus
by César Augusto Sodré da Silva, Karen Vanessa Marimón Sibaja, Sabrina de Ramos Cizilio, José Roberto Miranda Júnior, Rejane de Castro Santana, Marcio Arêdes Martins, Maurício de Oliveira Leite, Eduardo Basílio de Oliveira and Jane Sélia dos Reis Coimbra
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 87-103; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010005 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 612
Abstract
The high protein content of several microalgal species makes them attractive and unconventional candidates for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Due to the robust cell walls of microalgae, cell rupture is necessary to improve the extraction of intracellular proteins. Thus, choosing [...] Read more.
The high protein content of several microalgal species makes them attractive and unconventional candidates for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Due to the robust cell walls of microalgae, cell rupture is necessary to improve the extraction of intracellular proteins. Thus, choosing a suitable cell-breaking treatment before protein extraction is a vital downstream processing step. Additionally, it is necessary to use an effective technique for monitoring and measuring the impact of rupture treatments on microalgal cell walls. In our study, Tetradesmus obliquus cells were disrupted using three different mechanical rupture methods: high-pressure homogenization (HPH), ultrasound (US), and ball milling (BM). The ruptured biomass cells were counted, and soluble proteins were extracted and quantified. The cell-counting technique did not detect any differences between intact and damaged cells after BM treatment because the dye (erythrosine B) did not permeate the microalgal biomass accurately. The US treatment promoted the highest yield of total protein extraction (19.95%), while the highest yields in the HPH and BM treatments were 15.68% and 14.11%, respectively. Since the cell breakage method affects protein extraction from microalgal biomass, protein release can be used as a central indicator of the degree of cell disruption. Full article
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22 pages, 2793 KiB  
Article
DNA Barcode-Assisted Inventory of the Marine Macroalgae from the Azores, Including New Records
by Daniela Gabriel, William E. Schmidt, Joana Micael, Mónica Moura and Suzanne Fredericq
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 65-86; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010004 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 778
Abstract
Up to the present study, only 8.5% of the 522 macroalgal species reported at the Azores have sequences deposited in GenBank and BOLD public repositories. The sequences of four genetic markers (cox1, rbcL, UPA, tufA) were obtained for recently [...] Read more.
Up to the present study, only 8.5% of the 522 macroalgal species reported at the Azores have sequences deposited in GenBank and BOLD public repositories. The sequences of four genetic markers (cox1, rbcL, UPA, tufA) were obtained for recently collected samples from two Azorean islands. DNA barcode-assisted identification was conducted on newly generated and unpublished sequences from public repositories. A literature review of recently published studies, including the molecular identifications of Azorean macroalgae, was also performed. The results confirm the occurrence of 51 species (including subspecific ranks) and provide four new records, namely, three cryptogenic species (Olokunia boudouresquei, Padina gymnospora, and Ulva lacinulata) and one introduced species (Ulva australis). This study contributes 23 DNA barcodes generated for the first time to the Azores, which now has 10.5% of its marine flora represented in public repositories. Additionally, UPA sequences were generated for the first time for the five taxa. Full article
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12 pages, 3692 KiB  
Article
Accessing the Efficacy of Sargassum-Based Aqueous Phase Products Derived from Hydrothermal Carbonisation and Hydrothermal Liquefaction on Plant Growth
by James Smith, Amy Pilsbury, Vinod Kumar, Eleni E. Karamerou, Christopher J. Chuck, Leopoldo Herrera-Rodriguez, Julio V. Suarez and Michael J. Allen
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 53-64; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010003 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1019
Abstract
Mass Sargassum inundations have created opportunities for readily available biomass to be used as a crop enrichment application. However, the heavy metal contents of Sargassum pose serious concerns for crop administration and subsequent human consumption. Hydrothermal processing can break the feedstock components, allowing [...] Read more.
Mass Sargassum inundations have created opportunities for readily available biomass to be used as a crop enrichment application. However, the heavy metal contents of Sargassum pose serious concerns for crop administration and subsequent human consumption. Hydrothermal processing can break the feedstock components, allowing heavy metals to be partitioned, through the utilisation of high temperatures and pressures. As a result, seemingly nutrient-rich phases can be produced. Elemental analyses showed that Sargassum-derived fractions contain important macro- and micronutrients for plants, particularly ammonium, orthophosphate, and potassium, making them potential nutrient sources for plant growth. To date, no research has investigated the plant growth potential of hydrothermally processed Sargassum products from a bioavailability or biotoxicity perspective. We seek to determine if the aqueous phase products derived following Sargassum processing by hydrothermal carbonisation and liquefaction are toxic to higher plants, and if they can support plant growth. Aqueous phase products in ≥1% concentrations inhibit root growth and lateral root formation in Arabidopsis plants, likely from the presence of inhibitory compounds. However, aqueous phase products in ≤0.1% concentrations paired with an established nutrient mix may provide improved leaf and root growth. Both HTC and HTL were capable of eliciting improved foliage growth, while only HTC induced improved root growth. Conclusively, aqueous phase products lack nutrient potency to allow high dilutions for fertiliser application on their own and may contain inhibitory compounds that deter plant growth at high concentrations. However, they might have a purpose as an additive extract. The recovery of important elements needed for plant growth draws a promising path for future applications of hydrothermal processing with different feedstocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Sargassum Golden Tides, a Global Problem)
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16 pages, 867 KiB  
Article
Production of the Macroalgae Ulva lactuca Integrated with the Shrimp Penaeus vannamei in a Biofloc System: Effect of Total Suspended Solids and Nutrient Concentrations
by Andrezza Carvalho, Ítalo Braga, Florencia Chaar, Alessandro Pereira Cardozo, José María Monserrat, Juan Rafael Buitrago Ramírez, Wilson Wasielesky, Jr. and Luís H. Poersch
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 37-52; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010002 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1051
Abstract
This study focused on evaluating the effect of different concentrations of nutrients and total suspended solids on the removal rate of nutrients and biocompounds from the macroalgae U. lactuca in an integrated system with the shrimp Penaeus vannamei in biofloc. The experiment lasted [...] Read more.
This study focused on evaluating the effect of different concentrations of nutrients and total suspended solids on the removal rate of nutrients and biocompounds from the macroalgae U. lactuca in an integrated system with the shrimp Penaeus vannamei in biofloc. The experiment lasted 45 days and included five treatments with three replicates each, with percentages of 0 (control), 25, 50, 75, and 100% biofloc inoculum (73.3 ± 5.7 and 325.0 ± 21.2 mg L−1 initial nitrate and solids, respectively, in the 100% inoculum), from a shrimp farm, resulting in different concentrations of solids and nutrients. The macroalgae were introduced into 280 L tanks at a density of 0.88 kg m−2, along with 200 shrimp m−3. The algae were separated by a floating structure. Water quality parameters were measured, and the nutrient removal rate was evaluated. The treatment with 75% inoculum showed a removal rate of 55.0 ± 4.0 and 31.0 ± 10.0% of nitrate and phosphate, respectively. There was no difference in macroalgae growth between the treatments; however, macroalgae grown in 75% inoculum had higher protein, chlorophyll-a, and lower ash values compared with the control. The use of macroalgae in integrated production with shrimp under the conditions of the treatment with 75% biofloc inoculum proved to be viable and sustainable. Full article
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36 pages, 2390 KiB  
Review
Phytohormones and Pheromones in the Phycology Literature: Benchmarking of Data-Set and Developing Critical Tools of Biotechnological Implications for Commercial Aquaculture Industry
by Sachin G. Rathod, Satej Bhushan and Vaibhav A. Mantri
Phycology 2024, 4(1), 1-36; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology4010001 - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1133
Abstract
Plant hormones and pheromones are natural compounds involved in the growth, development, and reproductive processes. There is a plethora of studies on hormones and pheromones in terrestrial plants, but such investigations are few in the phycological literature. There are striking similarities between the [...] Read more.
Plant hormones and pheromones are natural compounds involved in the growth, development, and reproductive processes. There is a plethora of studies on hormones and pheromones in terrestrial plants, but such investigations are few in the phycological literature. There are striking similarities between the chemical diversity, biosynthetic processes, roles, and actions of hormones and pheromones in both higher angiospermic plants and algae. However, there are substantial knowledge gaps in understanding the genes responsible for hormone biosynthesis and regulation in algae. Efforts have focused on identifying the genes and proteins involved in these processes, shedding light on lateral gene transfer and evolutionary outcomes. This comprehensive review contributes to benchmarking data and essential biotechnological tools, particularly for the aquaculture industry where seaweed is economically crucial. Advanced techniques in plant hormones and pheromones can revolutionize commercial aquaculture by using synthetic analogs to enhance growth, yield, and reproductive control, thereby addressing seasonal limitations and enabling sustainable seedling production. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive review that focuses on biosynthetic pathways and modes of action (of five plant hormones and five pheromones), roles (of 11 hormones and 29 pheromones), and extraction protocols (of four hormones and six pheromones) reported in the phycological domain. Full article
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