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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Dec;74(24):7740-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01399-08. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Bacteria associated with benthic diatoms from Lake Constance: phylogeny and influences on diatom growth and secretion of extracellular polymeric substances.

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  • 1Fachbereich Biologie, Universität Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany.


The composition of diatom-associated bacterial communities was studied with 14 different unialgal xenic diatom cultures isolated from freshwater epilithic biofilms of Lake Constance, Germany. A clear dominance of Alphaproteobacteria was observed, followed by Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Verrucomicrobia. Pure cultures of the diatom Cymbella microcephala, which was found to be dominant in epilithic biofilms in Lake Constance, were cocultivated with six associated bacterial strains. All these bacterial strains were able to grow in C. microcephala cultures in the absence of organic cosubstrates. Diatom growth was generally enhanced in the presence of bacteria, and polysaccharide secretion was generally increased in the presence of Proteobacteria. The monomer composition of extracellular polysaccharides of C. microcephala changed in relation to the presence of different bacteria, but the dominant monomers were less affected. Our results indicate that these changes were caused by the diatom itself rather than by specific bacterial degradation. One Bacteroidetes strain strongly influenced carbohydrate secretion by the alga via extracellular soluble compounds. Biofilms were formed only in the presence of bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis and coculture studies indicate an adaptation of Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes to the microenvironment created by the diatom biofilm.

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