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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1999 Aug;65(8):3272-8.

Low-molecular-weight sulfonates, a major substrate for sulfate reducers in marine microbial mats.

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  • 1Department of Marine Sciences, and Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Groton, Connecticut 06340, USA. pieter.visscher@uconn.edu

Abstract

Several low-molecular-weight sulfonates were added to microbial mat slurries to investigate their effects on sulfate reduction. Instantaneous production of sulfide occurred after taurine and cysteate were added to all of the microbial mats tested. The rates of production in the presence of taurine and cysteate were 35 and 24 microM HS(-) h(-1) in a stromatolite mat, 38 and 36 microM HS(-) h(-1) in a salt pond mat, and 27 and 18 microM HS(-) h(-1) in a salt marsh mat, respectively. The traditionally used substrates lactate and acetate stimulated the rate of sulfide production 3 to 10 times more than taurine and cysteate stimulated the rate of sulfide production in all mats, but when ethanol, glycolate, and glutamate were added to stromatolite mat slurries, the resulting increases were similar to the increases observed with taurine and cysteate. Isethionate, sulfosuccinate, and sulfobenzoate were tested only with the stromatolite mat slurry, and these compounds had much smaller effects on sulfide production. Addition of molybdate resulted in a greater inhibitory effect on acetate and lactate utilization than on sulfonate use, suggesting that different metabolic pathways were involved. In all of the mats tested taurine and cysteate were present in the pore water at nanomolar to micromolar concentrations. An enrichment culture from the stromatolite mat was obtained on cysteate in a medium lacking sulfate and incubated anaerobically. The rate of cysteate consumption by this enrichment culture was 1.6 pmol cell(-1) h(-1). Compared to the results of slurry studies, this rate suggests that organisms with properties similar to the properties of this enrichment culture are a major constituent of the sulfidogenic population. In addition, taurine was consumed at some of highest dilutions obtained from most-probable-number enrichment cultures obtained from stromatolite samples. Based on our comparison of the sulfide production rates found in various mats, low-molecular-weight sulfonates are important sources of C and S in these ecosystems.

PMID:
10427006
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC91491
Free PMC Article
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