A Chlorophyte alga utilizes alternative electron transport for primary photoprotection [article]

Graham Peers, Maxwell A Ware, Darcy Hunstiger, Michael Cantrell
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Desmodesmus armatus is an emerging biofuel platform producing high amount of lipids and biomass in mass culture. We observed D. armatus in light-limiting, excess light and sinusoidal light environments to investigate its photoacclimation behaviors and the mechanisms by which it dissipates excess energy. Chlorophyll a:b ratios and the functional absorption cross section of photosystem II (PSII) suggested a constitutively small light harvesting antenna size relative to other green algae. In situ
more » ... nd ex situ measurements of photo-physiology revealed that nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) is not a significant contributor to photoprotection, but cells do not suffer substantial photoinhibition despite its near absence. We performed membrane inlet mass spectrometry analysis to show that D. armatus has a very high capacity for alternative electron transport (AET) measured as light dependent oxygen consumption. Up to 90% of electrons generated at PSII can be dissipated by AET in a water-water cycle during growth in rapidly fluctuating light environments like those found in industrial scale photobioreactors. This work highlights the diversity of photoprotective mechanisms shown in algal systems, that NPQ is not necessarily required for effective photoprotection in some algae and suggests that engineering AET may be an attractive target for increasing biomass productivity of some strains.
doi:10.1101/2020.03.26.010397 fatcat:ssflca4k2bevte3xsjfwry4m5y