Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Desert dust enables algae to grow

22.12.2003


Biologists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research have demonstrated that desert dust promotes the growth of algae. Scientists had already assumed that the iron in desert dust stimulated algal growth, but this has now been demonstrated for the first time. The researchers have published their findings in the December issue of the Journal of Phycology.




The biologists cultured two species of diatoms in seawater originating from the iron-depleted Southern Ocean, the sea around the South Pole. The algae were supplied with dust from a desert in Mauritania and a desert in Namibia. The growth of algae which received a lot of dust was compared with that of algae which received little or no dust.

Algae that received desert dust grew considerably better than algae which did not. The researchers also discovered that algae grew less well on desert dust from Mauritania than desert dust from Namibia.


As well as establishing how much iron the dust contained, the researchers also discovered that the algae could only utilise a limited part of the dissolved iron. This was established by culturing the algae in seawater without dust, but with different concentrations of dissolved iron. The researchers could then compare the growth of the algae that received a known quantity of iron with that of the algae which grew on dust.

The researchers will use the laboratory results to predict how algae in the ocean respond to desert dust. The data obtained from these predictions will contribute to knowledge about the further development of the greenhouse effect, because algae absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and in so doing slow down the warming up of the Earth.

For further information please contact Dr Klaas Timmermans (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research), tel. +31 (0)222 369494, fax +31 (0)222 319674, e-mail: klaas@nioz.nl.

The complete study will be published in the Journal of Phycology, December 2003, Volume 39 (6), under the title: The role of the reactivity and the content of iron of aerosol dust on growth rates of two Antarctic diatom species. F. Visser, L.J.A. Gerringa, S.J. Van der Gaast, H.J.W. de Baar, K.R. Timmermans.
Image available at www.nwo.nl/news.

The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the EU and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

Sonja Jacobs | NWO
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs
20.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>