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 Algae as Food for Other Organisms

 Algae as Food for Other Organisms

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a significantly higher concentration of UV-absorbing compounds when individuals

were feeding on the Rhodophyte Polysiphonia sp. than when they were feeding on

Chlorophytes. In A. valida (Fig. 6b), there was also an increase in the optical density

at 334 nm, being low when the organisms were feeding on Enteromorpha sp. and

significantly higher when they were feeding on Polysiphonia sp. Moreover, a higher

concentration of UV-absorbing compounds was found in A. valida compared with

that in I. baltica when feeding on Polysiphonia sp. This situation, however, was

reversed when the two crustacean species were collected from Chlorophyte species.

Survival experiments carried out with both species of crustaceans indicated a different ecological role of these compounds. In A. valida, and since a significant higher

survival was observed when organisms were feeding on Rhodophytes compared

with Chlorophytes, MAAs seem to provide an effective protection against UV-B

radiation. In I. baltica, however, mortality was high and not significantly different in

individuals feeding on rich and poor MAA diets. However, high amounts of MAAs

in eggs/embryos of I. baltica suggested that these compounds might provide protection to the progeny rather than to adults.

7. Conclusions

The results of the in situ experiments summarized above indicate that the studied

macroalgae are shade plants adapted to low light conditions during high tide

favored by strong absorption and scattering of solar radiation in the water column.

However, during low tide, organisms are damaged by high solar radiation exposure. Any further increase in solar UVR – for example, due to the continue decrease

of the stratospheric ozone layer or the extent of influence of the Antarctic ozone

‘hole’ over Patagonia – would worsen this situation, leading to more inhibition

of the algae. However, and so far, the studies have shown that the thalli protect

themselves by actively shutting down the photosynthetic electron transport to

recover during the subsequent low light phase. It is obvious that different species

are adapted to different heights on the coast, and it can be concluded that the

duration and intensity of solar radiation is a decisive factor in the habitat zonation

of macroalgae in the Patagonian region.

8. Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica

– ANPCyT (Project PICT N° 2005-32034 to VEV), Proalar (Project N° 2000-104 to EWH),

the United Nations Global Environmental Fund (PNUD Project N° B-C-39 to EWH),

Fundación Antorchas (Project A-13955/3 to EWH), the Deutsche Akademische

Austauschdienst (Project Proalar N° T332 408 138 415-RA to D.-P.H), and Fundación

Playa Unión. This is contribution N° 114 of Estación de Fotobiología Playa Unión.



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Biodata of Masahiro Notoya, author of “Production of Biofuel by Macroalgae

with Preservation of Marine Resources and Environment”

Masahiro Notoya is currently a Professor in the Laboratory of Applied Phycology in the

Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo, Japan. He obtained

his Ph.D. from Hokkaido University in 1978. Professor Notoya’s scientific

interests are in the areas of ecology of macroalgal and seagrass communities,

i.e., “Moba ecology,” integrated multitrophic aquaculture, algal bioremediation,

biotechnology of useful algae, algal breeding technology, taxonomy, phylogeny

and physiology of algae, and the life history of Porphyra.

E-mail: notoya@kaiyodai.ac.jp


A. Israel et al. (eds.), Seaweeds and their Role in Globally Changing Environments,

Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology 15, 217–228

DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-8569-6_13, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010




Notoya Research Institute of Applied Phycology, Mukojima-4,

Sumida-ku, Tokyo 131-8505, Japan

1. Introduction

Biofuel production and environment are issues of concern in the world. First,

the author describes the real needs of biofuel, and what kind of materials can

serve this purpose. This is followed by the argument that under the present

global circumstances, macroalgae are the most effective raw material for biofuel

production. Seaweeds are the most important in the marine ecosystem for the

preservation of marine bioresources and seawater quality by preventing pollution

and eutrophication, and also in the absorption and fixation of CO2 aided by

solar energy. The validity of macroalgae is also explained by various additional

useful substances found in their tissues, and by having high productivities compared with terrestrial plants and commercial crops. Algae can be produced in

the coast and unused vast ocean area within the exclusive economic zone. Finally,

the author’s idea for the construction of an effective production system of

macroalgae is explained.

2. Environmental Destruction and Bioenergy Production

Threats to human life on a global scale in the near future is thought to include

environmental destruction, shortage of drinking water and food, water pollution by

the contamination of chemical substances or radioactivity, and energy problems.

Most of these problems are due to unjustified destruction of natural environments,

and they originated by spendthrift economy of mass production/consumption. It is

also considered that a key factor of present global warming is CO2 emissions

and other greenhouse gases emitted artificially by the excessive use of fossil fuel

(fourth IPCC report). The need of energy production (bioenergy, physical energy




from solar light, wind) with environmental conservation approaches without

discharging CO2 is required. Therefore, in biofuel production, the technology

using a lot of energy and discharging a lot of waste for producing the raw materials and for the conversion process for fuel is not suitable. Furthermore, neither

the technology of changing food into energy nor the technology that uses a life

place should be used.

3. Biofuel Production and Global Environment

Recent increases in atmospheric CO2 levels are also caused by the anthropogenic

environmental destruction, such as the excessive consumption of fossil fuels,

deforestation, and development of farmland. Thus, to enhance the accumulation

of CO2 in a forest, stopping deforestation and developing farmland have been

recommended among immediate measures to be taken in every corner of the world,

until now. However, recently measures are moving to control the consumption of

the fossil fuel and production of carbon-neutral energy.

Wood, weeds, corn, sugarcane, palm, sunflower, and rapeseed have all

been evaluated as raw materials for carbon-neutral energy, such as alcohol or

diesel engine oil. Physical energies have also been considered, such as solar, wind,

geothermal, tidal, and current power. However, the energy for transportation

that can replace petroleum should be liquid, or gas fuel. Land crop resources for

carbon-neutral energy have also been used. However, land comprises only about

30% of the surface of the earth, and this includes mountains, deserts, and areas

close to lakes and rivers; and besides using it as a region of economic activity,

land also serves as a human being’s region of livelihood, such as the city,

farmland, and pasture. There was a feeling that not enough area has been allotted for the production of biofuel resources. Moreover, the shortage of food

material in the world at present should be taken into consideration as well as the

rapid increase in global population in the near future. Therefore, using up land

space for the production of biofuel resources is considered a problem given the

expected food crisis in the near future; thus all land space should be solely used

for food production.

On the basis of the above-mentioned facts, production of biofuel resources

should use marine plants rather than terrestrial plants. Especially in Japan, the

small islands with a large exclusive economic zone require the development of

technologies for large-scale culture of macroalgae on the coastal and offshore

areas, such that the production of biofuel from macroalgae does not compete

with that of food and does not destroy the environment. From our experimental

trials, it was estimated that the annual bio-ethanol production was 20 million

kiloliters from 10,000 ha (or 100 km2). This corresponds to about one third the

amount of petrol used annually in Japan. Our project has estimated that a production

of biohydrogen of about 4.7 m3/t wet weight of Ecklonia stolonifera Okamura is

also possible.

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