Disciplines

Biochemistry | Biology

Abstract

Euglena are photosynthetic unicellular protozoa. Commonly found in rivers, lakes and ponds, some Euglena are found in toxic environments, like areas of acid mine drainage where they can grow at low pH and in the presence of heavy metals and metalloids such as arsenite (e.g. Euglena mutabilis). The goal of this research is to determine if an Idaho Euglena isolate (SG6) belongs to the E. mutabilis species and to compare it’s level of arsenite resistance with other E. mutabilis strains. As part of the methodology, we have developed microtiter plate assays in which the cells are grown in liquid or on 1% agar solid media; this allows microscopic observation and direct cell counting. To determine SG6’s relation to known E. mutabilis, DNA and RNA are isolated to obtain sequence from multiple nuclear and chloroplast genes. Lastly, as preliminary experiments suggest, if SG6 represents a new strain of E. mutabilis that is abnormally sensitive to arsenite, we will test for the ability of SG6 to gradually adapt to a more toxic environment and become arsenite resistant.

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Arsenite Resistance of Euglena mutabilis

Euglena are photosynthetic unicellular protozoa. Commonly found in rivers, lakes and ponds, some Euglena are found in toxic environments, like areas of acid mine drainage where they can grow at low pH and in the presence of heavy metals and metalloids such as arsenite (e.g. Euglena mutabilis). The goal of this research is to determine if an Idaho Euglena isolate (SG6) belongs to the E. mutabilis species and to compare it’s level of arsenite resistance with other E. mutabilis strains. As part of the methodology, we have developed microtiter plate assays in which the cells are grown in liquid or on 1% agar solid media; this allows microscopic observation and direct cell counting. To determine SG6’s relation to known E. mutabilis, DNA and RNA are isolated to obtain sequence from multiple nuclear and chloroplast genes. Lastly, as preliminary experiments suggest, if SG6 represents a new strain of E. mutabilis that is abnormally sensitive to arsenite, we will test for the ability of SG6 to gradually adapt to a more toxic environment and become arsenite resistant.