Disruption-free imaging by Raman spectroscopy reveals a chemical sphere with antifouling metabolites around macroalgae.

Biofouling (2012-07-13)
Katharina Grosser, Linda Zedler, Michael Schmitt, Benjamin Dietzek, Jürgen Popp, Georg Pohnert

Investigations of the surface chemistry of marine organisms are essential to understand their chemically mediated interactions with fouling organisms. In this context, the concentration of natural products in the immediate vicinity of algal surfaces, as well as their biological activity, are of particular importance. However, due to lack of appropriate methods, the distribution of compounds within the chemical sphere around marine algae is unknown. This study demonstrates the suitability of confocal resonance Raman microspectroscopy for the determination of metabolites around algal surfaces with a micrometer resolution. The spatial distribution of carotenoids in the diffusion boundary layer of the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus and the green alga Ulva sp. was determined using the disruption-free optical method. A gradient of carotenoids was determined within 0 to 150 μm from the surface of the algae, thereby demonstrating the release of the non-polar metabolites involved in antifouling processes. The differences in the carotenoid composition of the brown and green algae were reflected in the spectra. Resonance Raman microspectroscopy also allowed visualization of the lateral distribution of fucoxanthin on the algal surface and localization of concentration maxima within a 50 × 50 μm(2) area. The results from this work show clearly that established dipping techniques suitable for the extraction of the diffusion boundary layer of macroalgae only provide an average of the local strongly variable concentrations of metabolites on algal surfaces.

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Fucoxanthin, carotenoid antioxidant