The production of surface-active material by marine phytoplankton cultures.
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The production of surface-active materials (surfactants) by axenic cultures of five marine diatoms, a dinoflagellate, and a coccolithophorid (all grown in uniform culture conditions) was determined by measuring the volume and stablility of the foam produced by shaking. Although a diatom, Cyclotella nana, produced the most stable surfactant, and a coccolithophorid, Coccolithus huxleyi, the least stable surfactant, differences in the stability of the surfactant between the species of diatoms employed were considerable. Such differences were not related to variations in cell numbers or biomass, but they may be related to innate characteristics of a particular species.