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Syst Appl Microbiol. 1999 May;22(2):237-48.

The response of the microbial community of marine sediments to organic carbon input under anaerobic conditions.

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Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie, Bremen, Germany.


Cyanobacterial biomass was added to anaerobic sediment to simulate the natural input of complex organic substrate that occurs in nature after algae blooms. Sediments were incubated at 0 degree C, 8 degrees C and 24 degrees C for 13 days. Community dynamics were measured by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), and sequencing of 16S rDNA PCR products. Metabolic changes were followed by the analysis of total carbon mineralisation, sulfate reduction, and ammonium production rates. The addition of organic material resulted in significant changes in the composition of the microbial community at all temperatures tested. Sulfate reduction was the main mineralisation process detected. However, not sulfate-reducers but rather members of the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium phylogenetic cluster showed the highest increase in the bacterial cells as detected by FISH. We conclude that these organisms play an important role in the anaerobic decomposition of complex organic material perhaps because they are the main catalysts of macromolecule hydrolysis and fermentation. The molecular methods also indicated a stimulation of ribosome synthesis. The detection of a large number of rRNA-rich cells belonging to the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium phylogenetic cluster further supports the importance of their role in the degradation of complex organic material in anaerobic marine sediments. Their detection in high numbers in the field may indicate recent deposition events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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