Boron uptake, localization, and speciation in marine brown algae
In contrast to the generally boron-poor terrestrial environment, the concentration of boron in the marine environment is relatively high (0.4 mM) and while there has been extensive interest in its use as a surrogate of pH in paleoclimate studies in the context of climate change-related questions, the relatively depth independent, and the generally non-nutrient-like concentration profile of this element have led to boron being neglected as a potentially biologically relevant element in the ocean. Among the marine plant-like organisms the brown algae (Phaeophyta) are one of only five lineages of photosynthetic eukaryotes to have evolved complex multicellularity. Many of unusual and often unique features of brown algae are attributable to this singular evolutionary history. These adaptations are a reflection of the marine coastal environment which brown algae dominate in terms of biomass. Consequently, brown algae are of fundamental importance to oceanic ecology, geochemistry, and coastal industry. Our results indicate that boron is taken up by a facilitated diffusion mechanism against a considerable concentration gradient. Furthermore, in both Ectocarpus and Macrocystis some boron is most likely bound to cell wall constituent alginate and the photoassimilate mannitol located in sieve cells. Herein, we describe boron uptake, speciation, localization and possible biological function in two species of brown algae, Macrocystis pyrifera and Ectocarpus siliculosus.