Bacterial influence on alkenones in live microalgae

Einat Segev, Isla S. Castañeda, Elisabeth L. Sikes, Hera Vlamakis, Roberto Kolter

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The microalga Emiliania huxleyi produces alkenone lipids that are important proxies for estimating past sea surface temperatures. Field calibrations of this proxy are robust but highly variable results are obtained in culture. Here, we present results suggesting that algal-bacterial interactions may be responsible for some of this variability. Co-cultures of E. huxleyi and the bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens resulted in a 2.5-fold decrease in algal alkenone-containing lipid bodies. In addition levels of unsaturated alkenones increase in co-cultures. These changes result in an increase in the reconstructed growth temperature of up to 2°C relative to axenic algal cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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