Implications for photonic applications of diatom growth and frustule nanostructure changes in response to different light wavelengths

Yanyan Su, Nina Lundholm, Søren Michael Mørk Friis, Marianne Ellegaard

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Diatoms are unicellular algae enclosed in intricate bio - silicified walls with repetitive nanostructures in a size range which makes them potentially relevant for a broad spectrum of industrial applications. How to optimize the nano - scale structures of the frustule for utilization of diatoms in nanotechnology is one of the technological challenges for these applications. Light is one of the most important abiotic factors for algal photosynthetic growth, and the frustule may play an important role in mediatin g light for these biological functions, as well as being central for its nano - technological applications. In this study, we tested the influence of light quality on the nanostructure of the frustule of Coscinodiscus granii and compared this to growth rate response. The results showed that colored light (red, yellow, green and blue) at 300 μmol photons m - 2 s - 1 resulted in a statistically significant change in nanostructure compared to white light. Green light at 100 μmol photon m - 2 s - 1 led to a significant dec rease in mean frustule diameter and mean foramen diameter. Numerical simulations confirmed that the morphological changes obtained were sufficient to induce clear differences in the photonics properties of the frustule. The wavelength had no effect on the growth rate at high light intensity (300 μmol photons m - 2 s - 1 ). However, at 100 μmol photons m - 2 s - 1 , yellow, red - orange and green light resulted in significantly lower maximum growth rates than the other wavelengths. This response of the frustule structure to different light treatment indicates th e possibility of a light - based frustule nanostructure manipulation method, which is simple and environmentally friendly
Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Research
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2363-2372
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Coscinodiscus granii
  • Light wavelength
  • Light intensity
  • Frustule nanostructure
  • Growth rate
  • Photonic properties

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