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Microb Ecol. 2001 Oct;42(3):407-415.

Distribution of virus-like Particles in an Oligotrophic Marine Environment (Alboran Sea, Western Mediterranean).

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1
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Malaga, Campus de Teatinos, 29071-Malaga, Spain.

Abstract

Viruses are abundant in a variety of aquatic environments, often exceeding bacterial abundance by one order of magnitude. In the present study, the spatial distribution of viruses in offshore waters of the Alboran Sea (Western Mediterranean) have been studied to determine the relationships between viruses and host communities in this oligotrophic marine environment. Viral abundance was determined using two methods: (i) epifluorescence light microscopy using the dsDNA binding fluorochrome DAPI, and (ii) direct counts by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results obtained were significantly different; the highest viral counts were obtained by mean of TEM analyses. In all the samples tested the number of viruses was exceeded by the bacterial concentrations, with a ratio between viral and bacterial titers varying between 1.4 and 20. VLP (virus-like particle) counts were not significantly correlated (p > 0.001) with chlorophyll a concentration or the abundance of cyanobacteria. However, there was a positive and significant correlation with bacterial abundance (p <0.001). THE ANALYSIS OF SIZE AND MORPHOLOGY OF VIRAL PARTICLES BY TEM AND THE CORRELATION OBTAINED BETWEEN THE NUMBERS OF VLP AND BACTERIA SUGGEST THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE VIRAL PARTICLES IN THE ALBORAN SEA ARE BACTERIOPHAGES. NONE OF THE INDIRECT EVIDENCE SUGGESTED THAT EUKARYOTIC ALGAE OR CYANOBACTERIA WERE IMPORTANT HOST ORGANISMS IN THESE WATERS.

PMID:
12024265
DOI:
10.1007/s00248-001-0015-y
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