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Rapid assessment of tissue nitrogen in cultivated Gracilaria gracilis (Rhodophyta) and Ulva lactuca (Chlorophyta)

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Tissue nitrogen content and thallus colour were quantified using a rapid assessment method based on the Pantone® matt uncoated formula guide for raft-cultivated Gracilaria gracilis Steentoft, Irvine et Farnham at Saldanha Bay and tank-cultivated Ulva lactuca Linnaeus at Jacobsbaai in 2001–2002. For Gracilaria a relationship between thallus colour and tissue nitrogen, as well as a transition between green-yellows and yellow-browns that occurs between 0.8 and 1.3 mg N per g tissue (Pantone® colours 460U–455U), was found, with the green-yellow colours indicating nitrogen-starved material and the yellow-browns indicating nitrogen-replete material. For Ulva a transition between green-yellow and green occurred at a tissue nitrogen content of between 1.5 and 1.7 mg N per g tissue (Pantone® colours 585U–583U). This relationship can be used by seaweed farmers for cultivation management as a quick guide to determine nutritional status of the seaweeds, and as an indication of protein content when the seaweeds are used as feeds.
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Keywords: CULTIVATED SEAWEEDS; PANTONE®; THALLUS COLOUR; TISSUE NITROGEN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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