Characteristics of the freshwater cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa grown in iron-limited continuous culture

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Dang, TC, Fujii, M, Rose, AL, Bligh, M & Waite, TD 2012, 'Characteristics of the freshwater cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa grown in iron-limited continuous culture', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 78, no. 5, pp. 1574-1583.

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A continuous culturing system (chemostat) made of metal-free materials was successfully developed and used to maintain Fe-limited cultures of Microcystis aeruginosa PCC7806 at nanomolar iron (Fe) concentrations (20 to 50 nM total Fe). EDTA was used to maintain Fe in solution, with bioavailable Fe controlled by absorption of light by the ferric EDTA complex and resultant reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II). A kinetic model describing Fe transformations and biological uptake was applied to determine the biologically available form of Fe (i.e., unchelated ferrous iron) that is produced by photoreductive dissociation of the ferric EDTA complex. Prediction by chemostat theory modified to account for the light-mediated formation of bioavailable Fe rather than total Fe was in good agreement with growth characteristics of M. aeruginosa under Fe limitation. The cellular Fe quota increased with increasing dilution rates in a manner consistent with the Droop theory. Short-term Fe uptake assays using cells maintained at steady state indicated that M. aeruginosa cells vary their maximum Fe uptake rate (ρmax) depending on the degree of Fe stress. The rate of Fe uptake was lower for cells grown under conditions of lower Fe availability (i.e., lower dilution rate), suggesting that cells in the continuous cultures adjusted to Fe limitation by decreasing ρmax while maintaining a constant affinity for Fe.