Inorganic CarbonAcquisition by Marine Phytoplankton

John Reinfelder - Rutgers University
Morel Lab Participants: Allen Milligan

In collaboration with John Reinfelder (at Rutgers University) we have continued our work on the mechanism of inorganic carbon uptake and fixation in diatoms. Our new membrane inlet mass spectrometer (which allows one to follow in real-time the evolution of CO2 and O2 in concentrated cultures) has provided us with convincing data supporting our earlier (and controversial) report of unicellular C4 photosynthesis --a pathway that involves accumulation of carbon as a C4 compound prior to fixation-- in these organisms. This project, in concert with our work on Cd-carbonic anhydrase and on the physiological role of the silica frustule indicates that a particularly effective carbon acquisition system may be in part responsible for the ecological success of diatoms in the oceans.


Princeton University
Department of Geosciences