Letter | Published:

Culture of Algae and other Micro-organisms in Deuterium oxide


THERE can be no doubt that algae forced to grow autotrophically in high concentrations of deuterium oxide are confronted with a difficult situation. Nevertheless, recent statements that moderate concentrations of deuterium oxide stop cell division in Chlorella 1, that the growth of Chlorella is “extremely slow, sporadic and unpredictable”2 at high concentrations of deuterium oxide, and that autotrophic growth of Chlorella is “inhibited completely in 90 per cent heavy water”3 must have only very limited validity. It is in fact entirely feasible to culture several species of algae autotrophically in 99.6 per cent deuterium oxide and at a growthrate such that they become a practical source of fully deuterated compounds4.

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  1. 1

    Hughes, A. M., Tolbert, B. M., Lonberg-Holm, K., and Calvin, M., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 28, 58 (1958). Calvin, M., J. Chem. Ed. 35, 428 (1958).

  2. 2

    Moses, V., Holm-Hansen, O., and Calvin, M., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 28, 62 (1958).

  3. 3

    Walker, J. R., and Syrett, P. J., Nature, 183, 193 (1959).

  4. 4

    Chorney, W., Scully, N. J., Crespi, H. L., and Katz, J. J., Biochim. Biophys. Acta (in the press).

  5. 5

    Eyster, H. C., Nature, 181, 1141 (1958).

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