Influence of virus infection on the growth of green algae Tetraselmis viridis in culture

L.V.  Stelmakh1, O.A.  Stepanova2

 1The A.O. Kovalevsky Institute of Marine Biological Research of RAS, RF, Sevastopol, Nachimov Av., 2; E-mail:

2Institute of Natural and Technical Systems, RF, Sevastopol, Lenin St., 28; E-mail:

DOI: 10.33075/2220-5861-2019-2-93-99

UDC 581.526.325; 578.4 (262.5)


   The purpose of this work is to assess the effect of viral infection on the growth and destruction of the Black Sea microalgae Tetraselmis viridis (Chlorophyta) in culture under different light conditions.

   In the experiments, the culture of the microalgae T. viridis and the algal virus of microalgae T. viridis (strain TsV-S1) were used.

   It was shown that under conditions of continuous artificial illumination, viral infection of cells at the light intensity of 60 μE·m2·s-1 was noted a day after infection, and at 20 μE·m-2·s-1 after two days. Infected and non-infected cells differed in shape and size. The onset of the death of the infected culture at the light intensity 60 μE·m-2·s-1 was noted at the end of the third day after the number of algae cells reached 3·105 cells·ml-1, whereas at 20 μE·m-2·s-1 – at the beginning of the fifth day with the same number. Complete lysis of algae cells was registered by the end of the sixth day under low light conditions, whereas 3times increase in light intensity resulted in completing this process two days earlier.

   Based on the obtained results and data available in literature on the effect of viral infection on certain types of algae in laboratory experiments, it can be assumed that the role of viral infection in the die-off of phytoplankton cells in the sea can increase only during periods   of phytoplankton blooms caused by some species of algae. During such periods the number of their cells increases by several orders of magnitude. This causes seasonal peaks in the number of algoviruses that can infect the algae species. In this situation, the degradation of phytoplankton bloom can probably occur within a few days.

Key words: marine microalgae, algal virus, phytoplankton, Black Sea.

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