Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has been used to obtain metabolic profiles of the polar diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus, leading to the identification of a novel metabolite in this organism. Initial results from an ongoing metabolomics study have led to the discovery of isethionic acid (2-hydroxyethanesulfonic acid, CAS: 107-36-8) as a major metabolite in F. cylindrus. This compound is being produced by the organism under normal culture conditions. This finding is the first report of a diatom producing isethionic acid. In addition to isethionic acid, four other metabolites, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), betaine, homarine, and proline were present and may serve as osmoprotectants in F. cylindrus. NMR-based metabolite profiles of F. cylindrus were obtained along a growth curve of the organism. The relative concentration levels of the five metabolites were monitored over a growth period of F. cylindrus from 18 to 25 days. All showed an increase in relative concentration with time, except for proline, which began to decrease after day 21.
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