Journal Article

The Formation of Zn-Chl <i>a</i> in <i>Chlorella</i> Heterotrophically Grown in the Dark with an Excessive Amount of Zn<sup>2+</sup>

Isamu Ikegami, Aki Nemoto and Kohki Sakashita

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 46, issue 5, pages 729-735
Published in print May 2005 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online May 2005 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
The Formation of Zn-Chl a in Chlorella Heterotrophically Grown in the Dark with an Excessive Amount of Zn2+

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Chlorella, when heterotrophically cultivated in the dark, is able to grow with Zn2+ at 10–40 mM, which is 10 times the concentration lethal to autotrophically grown cells. However, the lag phase is prolonged with increasing concentrations of Zn2+; for example, in this study, 1 d of the control lag phase was prolonged to about 16 d with Zn2+ at 16.7 mM (×2,000 of the control). Once the cells started to grow, the log phase was finished within 4–6 d regardless of Zn concentration, which was almost the same as that of the control. The photosysystem I reaction center chlorophyll, P700, and the far-red fluorescence were detected only after the late log phase of the growth curve, suggesting that chlorophyll–protein complexes can be organized after cell division has ceased. Interestingly, at more than 16.7 mM of Zn2+, Zn-chlorophyll a was accumulated and finally accounted for about 25% of the total chlorophyll a in the late stationary phase. We found that the Zn-chlorophyll a was present in the thylakoid membranes and not in the soluble fractions of the cells. The rather low fluorescence yield at around 680 nm in the stationary phase suggests that Zn-chlorophyll a can transfer its excitation energy to other chlorophylls. Before accumulation of Zn-chlorophyll a, a marked amount of pheophytin a was temporally accumulated, suggesting that Zn-chlorophyll a could be chemically synthesized via pheophytin a.

Keywords: Chlorella; Chlorophyll a; Low temperature fluorescence; Zinc acclimation; Zn-chlorophyll a; P700, photosystem I reaction-center chlorophyll; Phe, pheophytin

Journal Article.  4963 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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