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Marine phytoplankton can interchange trace metals in various biochemical functions, particularly under metal-limiting conditions. Here, we investigate the stimulating and toxicity effect of chromium (Cr) on a marine Chlorophyceae Osetreococcus tauri under Fe-replete and Fe-deficient conditions. We determined the growth, photosynthesis, and proteome expressions of Osetreococcus tauri cultured under different Cr and Fe concentrations. In Fe-replete conditions, the presence of Cr(VI) stimulated significantly the growth rate and the maximum yield of photochemistry of photosystem II (Fv /Fm ) of the phytoplankton, while the functional absorption cross-section of photosystem II (σPSII ) did not change. Minor additions of Cr(VI) partially rescued phytoplankton growth under Fe-limited conditions. Proteomic analysis of this alga grown in Fe-replete normal and Fe-replete with Cr addition media (10 μM Cr) showed that the presence of Cr significantly decreased the expression of phosphate-transporting proteins and photosynthetic proteins, while increasing the expression of proteins related to carbon assimilation. Cr can stimulate the growth and photosynthesis of O. tauri, but the effects are dependent on both the Cr(VI) concentration and the availability of Fe. The proteomic results further suggest that Cr(VI) addition might significantly increase starch production and carbon fixation.

Original publication




Journal article


New Phytol

Publication Date



chromium, photosynthesis, phytoplankton, proteomics, trace metal