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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Nov;57(11):3237-42.

Production and consumption of dimethylsulfoniopropionate in marine microbial mats.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Groningen, Kerklaan 30, 9751 NN Haren, The Netherlands.


The fate of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a major sulfonium compound in marine ecosystems, was examined in Microcoleus chthonoplastes-dominated microbial mats. Chemical decomposition of DMSP was observed under laboratory conditions at pH values higher than 10.0. pH profiles measured in situ showed that these highly alkaline conditions occurred in microbial mats. Axenic cultures of M. chthonoplastes contained 37.3 mumol of DMSP g of protein, which was partially liberated when the cells were subjected to an osmotic shock. DMSP-amended mat slurries showed a rapid turnover of this compound. The addition of glutaraldehyde blocked DMSP decrease, indicating biological consumption. Populations of potential dimethyl sulfide consumers were found in the top 10 mm of the mat.

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