Algae, Biology tutorial


Algae are categorized as Protoctista, and explained as ancestors of plants. They have specific plant traits of having chlorophyll and able to photosynthesize. They are also eukaryotic though few are unicellular. Approximately all algae are adapted to living in water. They live in the large range of sizes and form. There are filamentous, unicellular, colonial and thalloid forms. The thalloid is the body which is not distinguished in true roots, stems, and leaves. When characteristics seem like roots, stems and leaves but not have vascular tissues they are explained as not being true. Thallus is frequently flat, photosynthetic and eukaryotic.

Algae are varied and situated approximately everywhere on planet. They play the significant role in several ecosystems, with giving base for aquatic food chains supporting every fishery in oceans and inland, and creating about 70% of all the air we breathe.

Categorization into Groups:

Algae is categorized in Phylum Chlorophyta (green algae) and phylum phaeophyta (the brown algae) and Rhodophyta (red algae). The kingdom is divided into two phyla chiefly by colour of the photosynthetic pigment and manner they store the carbohydrates. Whereas in phylum chlorophyta pigment chlorophyll (a and b) is leading; photosynthetic pigment of phaeophyta is fucoxanthin (chlorophyll a and c).

While chlorophyta store the carbohydrates as starch, phaeophytes store it as soluble laminarin and mannitol. They store fats. Other differences are chlorophyta are generally fresh water habitants with the wide range of diversity incorporating filamentous, unicellular, colonial and thalloid types, whereas Phaeophytes are almost all manic kinds. They are just filamentous or thalloid and generally large.

Rhodophyta is a group comrising of multicellular aquatic algae that show the extremely differed organisation of plant body. They are usually found attached to rocky stones. Few of them happen as entire or semi parasites on other algal plants.

The members of specified group are generally known as 'red algae' because of the presence of the characteristic red pigment known as phycoerythrin (red), that masks colour of other pigments like phycocyanin (blue) and chlorophyll (green).

Structure of Spirogyra:

Every filament comprises of many cylindrical cells placed end to end. Every cell is approx 75mm long. It has the thick cellulose cell wall enclosed with shiny mucilage on outer surface. Inner living of cell wall is composed of cytoplasm that surrounds the central vacuole in which cell sap is stored. Nucleus can be suspended by strands of cytoplasm or by strands of cytoplasm or embedded in cytoplasm that also has chloroplasts. Nucleus also has the nucleolus. Chloroplast is the spiral strip wound round inside of cell. It has few colorless patches of pyrenoids related with formation of starch.

Adaptation of Spirogyra:

It is found floating on surface of water with air bubbles bentrum strands. It produces by cell division along the length but not in width. Mucilage on the surface could have protective function against weather and preys. Nucleus not only manages cell activities, but also starts cell division. As all spirogyra cells are alike in formation and perform all life activities. It could be explained as the colony of cells all fixed together by mucilage. Spirogyra by level of separation is simply multicellular. It doesn't have special cells doing specific functions.

Structure of Fucus:

Fucus is the brown alga. It is comparatively large and more complicated. Its body is known as thallus that is distinguished in holdfast, stipe and frond. These appear like root, stem and leaf respectively but they are not true ones as there are no vascular tissues.

Adaptations of Fucus:

Fucus lives in intertidal rocky shores where states vary with arrival and recession of tide. This result is huge differences in temperature and exposure to air. Fucus thus requires to be protected from drying out. The cold sea may run in the hot rock pool causing severe temperature modification. Saturity may also raise as water dries out or raise when rain causes the abrupt increase in level of water. Plant should be physically adapted to stand tug and surge of tidal waves and effect of crashing stones as waves break on them. Fucus has the strong grip which anchors plant onto rock so tightly that in process of attempting to get rid of focus by grip, rock can break before holdfast. Thallus branches dichotomously that is, branching in 2 at every branch point. This device produces little resistance to water. It is tough but supple and its mid rub is strong and flexible. It has air bladders to allow it float in water. This is the device to get adequate light for photosynthesis. Plant has chloroplasts on the surface layers so that it can get highest exposure to light for photosynthesis.

Though, lower layers use leading photosynthetic pigment, fucoxanthin under water. Fucoxanthin absorbs blue light that goes through water further than does red light or those of large wave lengths. A large quantity of mucilage secreted by thallus prevents desiccation as they partially fill spaces within thallus and cover surface as well. By this thallus holds water. Solute concentration is higher in thallus than in surrounding so that water is not lost to surrounding by osmosis. Even sexual organs are squeezed when tide recede. Sex organs are protected by drying out of conceptacles, yet they stay stuck together by mucilage. When tide proceeds, it bring water that now dissolves mucilage and release gametes. Motile chemotatic male gametes are attracted by the chemical secretion of female. Zygote expands immediately to decrease its probability of being swept out into sea.

Benefits of algae:

There are several benefits of algae which are given below:

Algae are appearing to be one of the most capable long-term, sustainable resources of biomass and oils for food, fuel, feed, and other co-products.

Nearly all the advantages stem from fact that the plants have developed over billions of years to make and store energy in form of oil, and they perform this more effectively than any other recognized natural or engineered process.

1) Algae Grow Fast:

It can double their numbers in every few hours, harvested every day, and encompass potential to create the volume of biomass and biofuel several times greater than that of most productive crops.

2) Algae can include High Biofuel Yields:

It store energy in form of oils and carbohydrates that, combined with the high productivity, signifies they can create from 2,000 to as many as 5,000 gallons of biofuels per acre per year.

3) Algae use CO2:

Similar to any other plant, when developed by using sunlight, use (or absorb) carbon dioxide (CO2) as they develop, releasing oxygen for rest of us to breathe. For high output, algae need more CO2 that can be provided by emissions sources like power ethanol facilities, plants, and other sources.

4) It does not compete with Agriculture:

Algae agriculture utilizes both land that in several cases is inappropriate for traditional agriculture, and water sources which are not useable for other crops, like sea-, brackish- and wastewater. As such, algae-based fuels balance biofuels produced from conventional agricultural processes.

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