Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The nitrogen–fixing blue–green alga Anabaena ambigua was grown in a medium which contained either ammonium chloride as nitrogen source or molecular nitrogen. In the latter case the alga produced heterocysts. The material was analysed for ascorbic acid, dehydro-ascorbic acid and diketogulonic acid. The amount of a,scorbic acid was found always to he higher in the alga grown with molecular nitrogen. When the alga grown with combined nitrogen was transferred to the medium lacking it, there was an increase in the ascorbic acid content. Conversely, when material cultured on the nitrogen–free medium was suspended in the medium containing ammonium chloride, there was a decrease in the cellular ascorbic acid. Esogenously added ascorbic acid, up to 0.5 mg per ml, increased the heterocyst frequency to nearly three times that of the control. D–isoascorbic acid, an analogue of ascorbic acid, also showed an enhancement of heterocyst production.Algal extracts were fractionated by poiyacrylamide electro–phoresis, and the presence of ascorbic acid oxidase was detected on the gels. Two bands, with Rf values 0.34 and 1.0, were found to give positive test: for the enzyme. The total enzyme activity was 16.7 % higher in cells grown with molecular nitrogen than in those grown with combined nitrogen. The exact location of the enzyme in the alga ist not known although the heterocysts were earlier shown to contain ascorbic acid. Cytochemical tests, however, indicated strong per–oxidase activity in the heterocysts.
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