Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The ‘stress’ concept in microalgal biology—homeostasis, acclimation and adaptation

Borowitzka, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0001-6504-4563 (2018) The ‘stress’ concept in microalgal biology—homeostasis, acclimation and adaptation. Journal of Applied Phycology, 30 (5). pp. 2815-2825.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


The term ‘stress’ is widely used in the algal literature, usually in the context of the response of algae to changed abiotic and biotic factors. ‘Stress’ is seen as the cause of changes in algal metabolism and composition and often as a factor inducing the overproduction of particular desirable secondary metabolites. However, ‘stress’ is used differently by different authors and is often ill-defined, with no clear separation of cause and effect. This lack of a defined stress concept leads to poor experimental design, miscommunication of results and potentially erroneous conclusions. This paper reviews the stress concept as it applies to algae, especially microalgae. Here, stress is defined as the disruption of homeostasis due to a stressor and the stress response represents the changes in cell metabolism during acclimation and the restoration of homeostasis. Once homeostasis is restored the cell is no longer stressed. The stages of the stress response, i.e. alarm, regulation, acclimation and adaptation, are described. The well-studied responses of the green halophilic alga Dunaliella to changes in salinity are used as an example to illustrate the stress response and acclimation to the changed salinity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Algae & Seagrass Research Group
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature
Item Control Page Item Control Page