Navigation Links
A nanoscopic look at the estuary's green algae

The pico is a very small unit, even smaller than the nano as it is the equivalent of 10-12. The biologist Aitor Alonso has devoted himself to studying green algae of this imperceptible size existing in the Bilbao estuary, paying particular attention to the area beyond the Nervin estuary. This has enabled him to identify six genera and eleven nano- and picoplanktonic species that until now had not been catalogued in these waters. He has also put forward some measures designed to optimize the methodology to be applied to these analyses. His thesis, defended at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), is entitled Algas verdes en el picoplancton y nanoplancton del estuario del ro Nervin (Golfo de Vizcaya) (Green algae in the picoplankton and nanoplankton in the estuary of the river Nervin (Bay of Biscay).

All the algae contain chlorophyll A, but it is chlorophyll B that characterises green algae and gives them their pigment. "They have been used for producing biofuels, for treating sewage, etc. Research has also been done on them in the quest for products for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries," says Alonso. But the practical applications of the green algae were not the starting point of this research, rather their extremely high relative presence among the smallest organisms in the Nervin estuary. "There is an abundance of them among the smallest algae in the plankton, in other words, picoplankton. Most of what can be found of that size, apart from bacteria, are green algae." So his main aim was to find out a little more about this specific diversity. Data like, for example, that the most abundant green algae belong to the chlorophyta division, which dominate in the outer part of this estuary during the summer.

Species and the TSA-FISH technique

The samples collected by Alonso between 2007 and 2010 have been used to isolate and analyse 26 algae strains from the estuary of the Nervin and other nearby ones. "We knew the green algae were a significant group, but not which species it actually consisted of," he explains. On the bases of 26 strains, he has been able to identity in his research six genera and eleven species: Eutreptiella (E. eupharyngeae and E. gymnastica), Mamiella (M. gilva), Nephroselmis (N. pyriformis), Pyramimonas (P. orientalis, P. moestrupii, P. grossii, P. robusta and P. propulsa), Oltmannsiellopsis (O. unicellularis and O. viridis) and cf. Chlamydomonas.

Alonso's main aim was to put a name to the species comprising the community of green algae in the estuary of Bilbao, but the path covered to achieve this has also been a significant contribution of this thesis. Studying organisms of such a tiny fraction like the picoplankton is complicated, and in this case the combination of three techniques was chosen: epifluorescence (an advanced alternative to the conventional optical microscope), flow cytometry (used to classify and count the cells that are found in fluids), and the TSA-FISH technique (which expands more than other techniques the fluorescent signals that work as algal markers, thus increasing sensitivity and facilitating analysis). The researcher has put forward a number of proposals to improve the performance of these techniques and to make a correct interpretation of the results obtained through them.

Alonso has concentrated, above all, on the problems of and possible solutions to the application of Tyramide Signal Amplification (TSA)-FISH. He concludes that in order to make the fitoplankton count as universal as possible, a protocol based on this technique needs to meet certain premises. For example, as the TSA-FISH has difficulties when it comes to doing the sample count, he recommends using flow cytometry for this task. The research also revealed shortcomings in the permeability of certain cultures analysed; that could lead to the importance of one or more microalgae groups, which could be in fact significant in the community, being overlooked. In order to avoid this problem, the proposal is to use an extra permeation through enzymatic treatment. With these measures TSA-FISH would allow a simple, quantitative, precise and reliable measurement to be made in addition to the monitoring of the phytoplanktonic populations.


Contact: Amaia Portugal
Elhuyar Fundazioa

Related biology news :

1. New study demonstrates the role of urban greenery in CO2 exchange
2. Pasta made from green banana flour a tasty alternative for gluten-free diets
3. Mexican rock heroes trial novel green trading system
4. UCLAs Yi Tang receives Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from EPA
5. Ancient global warming allowed greening of Antarctica
6. Steel-strength plastics -- and green, too!
7. Weizmann Institute solar technology to convert greenhouse gas into fuel
8. Old aerial photos supply new knowledge on glaciers in Greenland
9. A practical guide to green products and services
10. Analysis of speed of Greenland glaciers gives new insight for rising sea level
11. Gladstone scientist Warner C. Greene receives Washington University School of Medicine Alumni Award
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016   Acuant , the leading ... has partnered with RightCrowd ® to ... Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce Assurance. ... functional enhancements to existing physical access control ... with an automated ID verification and authentication ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) ... million US Dollar project, for the , Supply ... Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the leading software as ... Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both audio and video ... trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can schedule a face ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: