Silicification of auxospores in the araphid diatom Tabularia fasciculata (Bacillariophyta).

Research paper by Laura L Mather, James M JM Ehrman, Irena I Kaczmarska

Indexed on: 27 Aug '13Published on: 27 Aug '13Published in: European Journal of Protistology


We report on auxospore wall structure and development in the araphid pennate diatom Tabularia fasciculata. Similar to most other pennates, these auxospores showed a typical bidirectional elongation, but unexpectedly bore no transverse perizonium, and with no detectable silicon during much of their expansion. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analyses segregated auxospores into two types: (1) those containing no detectable silicon and (2) those with measureable amounts. Both types were of similar size. Silica precipitation began throughout the auxospore at or near maximal length, but initially was detectable in isolated regions throughout the structure. Following this initial condition, silicon was consistently detectable throughout auxospores of comparable size and corresponded to deposition of longitudinal perizonium (visible through the thin organic outer layer of the wall in some auxospores), followed by the deposition of the initial valves. Our results raise the question as to how the tubular shape of bidirectionally expanding auxospores up to ∼90 μm long is maintained in the absence of transverse siliceous elements restricting isodiametric expansion of the cell, which are present in all other known pennate auxospores and all but one other diatom. Our study is the first to systematically examine mineral elements of the auxospore wall analytically.