Marine algae have developed defense strategies to oppose environment challenges (light exposure, pollution etc.). That resulted in a tremendous diversity of compounds from different metabolic pathways, what highlight these macrophytes' plasticity. Different approaches have been used to measure metabolism changes evoked by those challenges, but no protocol has been so powerful than environmental metabolomics. The integration of analytical chemistry (such as HPLC-MS and GC-MS) with bioinformatics has been demonstrated as a robust approach to evaluate the environmental metabolomics. In order to understand the mechanisms involved in carotenogenesis and responses to stress in macroalgae, one species of the red Graciliaria was chosen. It is known that salinity and light stress can affect the synthesis of a huge range of molecules in microalgae, like Haematococcus. The initial goal of this project to verify the pool of metabolites that the Gracilarian macroalga synthesize after these stresses. All experiments will be done in axenic conditions and artificial seawater. All methods are already established and we expect to have a huge increase about the knowledge of red algae biochemistry and how they synthesize carotenoids, which are also very important for biotechnological applications. We also aim to build a metabolic network to try to understand the flow of the signaling molecules due to stress and to define key point for metabolic engineering in order to control the carotenogenesis.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: