Microalgae are photosynthetic organisms of great environmental importance. They are found at the base of the food chain, being the gateway to nutrients and other substances to higher trophic levels. More recently, the biotechnological potential of microalgae has been noted, which may generate molecules of interest to the pharmacological, food, aquaculture and agricultural industries, among others. Presenting physiological plasticity, microalgae respond to environmental changes through the synthesis of compounds that can protect them. Investigations show that at particularly low doses of copper can lead to increase in the productivity of biomolecules in some microalgae. This project aims at defining a copper concentration(s) that can induce biomolecules synthesis in the Chlorophyta Ankistrodesmus fusiformis. Previous studies show that this concentration is within EC10 and EC30 for most microalgae. Based on ecotoxicology tools, we will carry out this study calculating EC10 - EC50 considering population density and cell viability, and analyses population growth rate and intracellular concentration of proteins, lipids and total carbohydrates, carotenoids and chlorophyll content, as well as the antioxidant potential (DPPH method) of the biomass. The photosynthetic process, being the basis of algal production, will also be investigated. The technique for this will be pulse amplitude modulated fluorescence. This study is a contribution to a better understanding of the effects of copper on the physiology of the microalgae Ankistrodesmus fusiformis, in addition to collaborating with areas of the biological sciences and biotechnology, since we will be developing a strategy to increase the production of biomolecules.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: