Galdieria sulphuraria

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Image of Galdiera sulphuraria courtesy of National Geographic.


Domain: Eukaryota; Class: Rhodophyta; Family: Cyanidiaceae; Genus: Galdieria

Phylogeny of ATPases in G. sulphuria Gerald Schönknecht et al. [Science 339, 1207 (2013).]


Species: Galdiera sulphuraria

Description and Significance

Galdieria sulphuraria is a eukaryotic, spore-forming, coccus. G. sulphuraria appears yellow-green to dark blue-green grown heterotrophically in liquid culture, and often yellow or green in its natural environment. It is an acidophile, as well a thermophile, and inhabits highly acidic springs at high temperatures.

G. sulphuraria is a mixotrophic organism capable of both photosynthesis and the catabolism of a wide variety of metabolites.

Genome Structure

"At least 5% of protein-coding genes of G. sulphuraria were probably acquired horizontally." [1] Protein coding regions of the G. sulphuraria genome are highly condensed when compared with most eurkaryotic organisms; having a median average of two introns of length 55bp [6].

Cell Structure, Metabolism and Life Cycle

"presents a vacuole, a multilobed chloroplast and a net-like mitochondrion" [2]

"This alga shows an enormous metabolic flexibility, growing either photoautotrophically or heterotrophically on more than 50 carbon sources" [3]


Image of Galdieria sulphuraria in Reykjavik National Geographic.

"The unicellular red micro-alga Galdieria sulphuraria (Cyanidiales) is a eukaryote that can represent up to 90% of the biomass in extreme habitats such as hot sulfur springs with pH values of 0 to 4 and temperatures of up to 56°C." [4]

"Some microbial eukaryotes, such as the extremophilic red alga Galdieria sulphuraria, live in hot, toxic metal-rich, acidic environments" [5]







[6] Gerald Schönknecht et al. Gene Transfer from Bacteria and Archaea Facilitated Evolution of an Extremophilic Eukaryote. Science 339 (2013): 1207-1209.