Repository logo
 

The influence of elevated SiO2 (aq) on intracellular silica uptake and microbial metabolism.

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Snow, Joseph T 
Zhang, Qiong 
Tosca, Nicholas J 
Rickaby, Rosalind EM 

Abstract

Microbes are known to accumulate intracellular SiO2 (aq) up to 100s of mmol/l from modern seawater (SiO2 (aq) <100 µmol/l), despite having no known nutrient requirement for Si. Before the evolution of siliceous skeletons, marine silica concentrations were likely an order of magnitude higher than the modern ocean, raising the possibility that intracellular SiO2 (aq) accumulation interfered with normal cellular function in non-silicifying algae. Yet, because few culturing studies have isolated the effects of SiO2 (aq) at high concentration, the potential impact of elevated marine silica on early microbial evolution is unknown. Here, we test the influence of elevated SiO2 (aq) on eukaryotic algae, as well as a prokaryote species. Our results demonstrate that under SiO2 (aq) concentrations relevant to ancient seawater, intracellular Si accumulates to concentrations comparable to those found in siliceous algae such as diatoms. In addition, all eukaryotic algae showed a statistically significant response to the high-Si treatment, including reduced average cell sizes and/or a reduction in the maximum growth rate. In contrast, there was no consistent response to the high-Si treatment by the prokaryote species. Our results highlight the possibility that elevated marine SiO2 (aq) may have been an environmental stressor during early eukaryotic evolution.

Description

Keywords

Archaean, Proterozoic, culturing, microbial metabolism, silica, Diatoms, Eukaryota, Seawater, Silicon Dioxide

Journal Title

Geobiology

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1472-4677
1472-4669

Volume Title

19

Publisher

Wiley