Marine algae of the genus Nannochloropsis are promising producers of biofuel precursors and nutraceuticals and are also harvested commercially for aquaculture feed. We have used quick-freeze, deep-etch electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and carbohydrate analyses to characterize the architecture of the Nannochloropsis gaditana (strain CCMP 526) cell wall, whose recalcitrance presents a significant barrier to biocommodity extraction. The data indicate a bilayer structure consisting of a cellulosic inner wall (—75% of the mass balance) protected by an outer hydrophobic algaenan layer. Cellulase treatment of walls purified after cell lysis generates highly enriched algaenan preparations without using the harsh chemical treatments typically used in algaenan isolation and characterization. Nannochloropsis algaenan was determined to comprise long, straight-chain, saturated aliphatics with ether cross-links, which closely resembles the cutan of vascular plants. Chemical identification of >85% of the isolated cell wall mass is detailed, and genome analysis is used to identify candidate biosynthetic enzymes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology