Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Scientific result | Découvertes et avancées | Cell and molecular imaging | Microalgae | Molecular mechanisms
Drawing upon the 3D reconstruction of the cellular architecture of several phytoplankton families, researchers at the CEA-Irig have demonstrated that the physiological responses of these eukaryotes are associated with certain characteristics of their energy-producing organelles. This work thus provides new perspectives for the production of algal biomass, upstream of biotechnology applications.
Phytoplankton play an essential role in sustaining life on earth. By converting CO2, sunlight and nutrients into biomass and oxygen, the unicellular organisms that make up phytoplankton account for about 50% of all primary production (of plant organic matter). They contribute to food webs and to the biological pump, a major component of the marine carbon cycle that permits the fixation of CO2 in the oceans through the sedimentation of microalgae. Understanding the cellular basis of the phytoplankton response to environmental changes could inspire promising new biotechnology developments.
Up until now, phytoplankton have been observed by light microscopy, 3D confocal microscopy and 2D electron microscopy. However, these techniques do not provide images with sufficient resolution for revealing the cellular ultrastructure of phytoplankton.
To address this, several teams from the Irig developed a 3D reconstruction of the cellular architecture of eukaryotes representative of phytoplankton, based on focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM).
The researchers could thus identify certain characteristics conserved during the evolution of plankton:
Morphological bases of phytoplankton energy management and physiological responses unveiled by 3D subcellular imaging. Nature Communications
Mixotrophic growth of the extremophile Galdieria sulphuraria reveals the flexibility of its carbon assimilation metabolism, New Phytologist
Boosting biomass quantity and quality by improved mixotrophic culture of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Frontiers in Plant Science
Consequences of mixotrophy on cell energetic metabolism in Microchloropsis gaditana, revealed by genetic engineering and metabolic approaches. Frontiers in Plant Science
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.