The taxonomy of the genus Dunaliella (Chlorophyta, Dunaliellales) with emphasis on the marine and halophilic species
Dunaliella tertiolecta (marine) and D. viridis (halophilic) were each trained by serial transfer to grow at salt concentrations previously regarded as the other's domain. D. viridis then had a salt optimum at 1.0-1.5 M sodium chloride whereas that for D. tertiolecta was less than 0-2 M. Nevertheless D. tertiolecta grew faster than the halophil at all salt concentrations up to 3.5 M, the highest at which they were compared. Both species accumulate glycerol, which is necessary for growth at elevated salinities and which responds in its content to water activity (aw) rather than specifically to salt concentration. Variation in glycerol content is a metabolic process which occurs in the dark from accumulated starch as well as photosynthetically. Regulation of glycerol content by aw does not require protein synthesis. The NADP-specific glycerol dehydrogenase of each of the algae is likely to be directly involved in the regulation of glycerol content. Kinetic studies, together with those described in an earlier publication, show that the enzyme has regulatory properties and that both glycerol and dihydroxyacetone act as effectors as well as reactants. A mechanism of the reaction is tentatively proposed.