Effect of Environmental Physico-Chemical Parameters on the Biochemical Composition of Wild Icelandic Laminaria digitata and Saccharina latissima (Laminariaceae, Phaeophyceae).

Daniel James Coaten, Hermann Dreki Guls, Margrét Þorsteinsdóttir, Halldór Pálmar Halldórsson
As global demand for algae products continues to rise, development of efficient cultivation methods for these resources becomes ever more essential. However, to date, there is still little known about how macroalgae respond to their environment, particularly in regard to fluctuations in their biochemistry. To address this, research was conducted which compared levels of biochemical components in two indigenous brown marine macroalgae species (Laminaria digitata and Saccharina latissima), wild harvested from two study sites located in Iceland. Results of these analyses were then mapped to the following environmental physico-chemical variables present at each of the respective sites: seawater chemistry (i.e., pH, salinity, total phosphorus, orthophosphate-P, nitrate-N, nitrite-N, ammoniumN, and dissolved oxygen), climatological data (i.e., relative humidity, sea surface temperature, air temperature, wind speed, and atmospheric pressure), tide depth, and daylight duration. The findings showed sea surface temperature to be strongly correlated to both carbohydrates (positively) and proteins (negatively) in both L. digitata and S. latissima at each site, and therefore could potentially be a key driver in macroalgae biochemical production. In addition, possible secondary, modulating variables were identified, such as total phosphorus and nitrate-N in the case of carbohydrates. The presence of these modulators, in combination with optimal sea surface temperatures may enable peak levels of biochemicals to be achieved. However, their degree of influence may be limited to certain thresholds, outside of which, more of an inhibitory effect may be observed. It was also noted that site specific environmental physico-chemical factors may have a greater influence on algae biochemical variability than genetic familiarity.

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