Photosynthetic Utilisation of Inorganic Carbon in Ulva
S. Beer

The utilisation of inorganic carbon (Ci), and its further photosynthetic fixation and reduction, is summarised for the ubiquitous green marine macroalga Ulva. Possible mechanisms involved in inorganic carbon transport from the bulk seawater medium are further described in a proposed functional, non-quantitative, model. The main form of inorganic carbon in seawater is bicarbonate (HCO3-), and this ion can be utilised either by i) intracellular, carbonic anhydrase (CA)-mediated, dehydration to form CO2 or ii) direct uptake/transport via are cently described anion exchanger (AE). These two ways of bicarbonate utilisation are not mutually exclusive, but both may be present in a given Ulva species, where each may function according to growth conditions. Inside the cells, all inorganic carbon must eventually be converted to CO2since ribulose- l,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is the principal enzyme of carbon fixation. Consequently Ulva is a C3plant in which CO2 is both initially fixed and reduced in the photosynthetic carbon reduction (Calvin) cycle. However, photosynthesis of Ulva is not sensitive to high oxygen tensions, and CO2 compensation points are low. Therefore, this plant possesses an efficient CO2 concentrating mechanism, the basis of which is not C4 photosynthesis but rather one or both of the two mentioned bicarbonate utilisation systems.

Keywords: Ulva, marine macroalga, photosynthesis, bicarbonate uptake.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 60(Suppl.1) : 125-128 Back PDF
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