Probing rapid carbon fixation in fast-growing seaweed Ulva meridionalis using stable isotope 13C-labelling

Shuntaro Tsubaki, Hiroshi Nishimura, Tomoya Imai, Ayumu Onda, Masanori Hiraoka

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The high growth rate of Ulva seaweeds makes it a potential algal biomass resource. In particular, Ulva meridionalis grows up to fourfold a day. Here, we demonstrated strong carbon fixation by U. meridionalis using 13C stable isotope labelling and traced the 13C flux through sugar metabolites with isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IR-MS), Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS), 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (13C-NMR), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS). U. meridionalis was first cultured in 13C-labelled enriched artificial seawater for 0–12 h, and the algae were collected every 4 h. U. meridionalis grew 1.8-fold (dry weight), and the 13C ratio reached 40% in 12 h, whereas 13C incorporation hardly occurred under darkness. At the beginning of the light period, 13C was incorporated into nucleic diphosphate (NDP) sugars in 4 h, and 13C labelled peaks were identified using FT-ICR-MS spectra. Using semiquantitative 13C-NMR measurements and GC–MS, 13C was detected in starch and matrix polysaccharides after the formation of NDP sugars. Moreover, the 14:10 light:dark regime resulted into 85% of 13C labelling was achieved after 72 h of cultivation. The rapid 13C uptake by U. meridionalis shows its strong carbon fixation capacity as a promising seaweed biomass feedstock.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20399
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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