|Title||The role of diatom nanostructures in constraining diffusive nutrient uptake|
|Presenter||Jody McKerral (Flinders University)|
|Author(s)||Jody McKerral, James Herringer, Gary Rosengarten, Alison Taylor \& James G. Mitchell|
The uptake of nutrients across the cell surface is the key process in microbe competition. Competition for nutrients is often thought of in terms of receptor affinity and receptor uptake on a simple geometry. Diatoms are a diverse and important group of microbes responsible for 40\% of the oceans' primary production. Their membranes are covered by a frustule: an intricate, porous-silica structure. Here, the role of frustules in influencing diffusive nutrient uptake is examined analytically and numerically. We propose that distinct structures are specifically adapted to control nutrient movement at the diatom surface, and find that nanostructures select for different nutrients. Structurally influenced diffusion is a little studied mechanism influencing phytoplankton dynamics and competition. The combination of constrained diffusion and nutrient uptake produces a new and the richest yet explanation for the morphological diversity of diatom frustules.
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