A comparison of methods for the non-destructive fresh weight determination of filamentous algae for growth rate analysis and dry weight estimation

The determination of rates of macroalgal growth and productivity via temporal fresh weight (FW) measurements is attractive, as it does not necessitate the sacrifice of biomass. However, there is no standardised method for FW analysis; this may lead to potential discrepancies when determining growth rates or productivity and make literature comparison problematic. This study systematically assessed a variety of lab-scale methods for macroalgal FW measurement for growth rate determination. Method efficacy was assessed over a 14-day period as impact upon algal physiology, growth rate on basis of FW and dry weight (DW), nitrate removal, and maintenance of structural integrity. The choice of method is critical to both accuracy and inter-study comparability of the data generated. In this study, it was observed that the choice of protocol had an impact upon the DW yield (P values = 0.036–0.51). For instance, those involving regular mechanical pressing resulted in a >25% reduction in the final DW in two of the three species studied when compared to algae not subjected to any treatment. This study proposes a standardised FW determination method employing a reticulated spinner that is rapid, reliable, and non-destructive and provides an accurate growth estimation.


Michael E. Ross, MS Stanley, JG Day, AJC Semite

Journal of Applied Phycology (2017)
06, 10, 2017
Pages: 1-12
DOI: 10.1007/s10811-017-1157-8