Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Creature 154: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Predatory algae
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a fairly normal looking algae which only grows to about 10 micrometers in size.

Most biology textbooks will tell you that plants get their energy from photosynthesis and animals get their energy by eating other organism. Like every other rule in a biology textbook, there are exceptions. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is perfectly capable of photosynthesis, but when the carbon dioxide required for photosynthesis is scarce they change. When they are incapable of photosynthesis they break down the cellulose in the cells of other plants and use it as an energy source. They can also modify their respiration under certain conditions to produce Hydrogen gas instead of Oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. 

Genetically modified versions of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii have been used to produce several different pharmaceutical products.

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is found in soils and fresh water all over the world.

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Chlorophyta
Class: Chlorophyceae
Order: Chlamydomonadales
Family: Chlamydomonadaceae
Genus: Chlamydomonas
Species: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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