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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 Sep;57(3):442-51.

Community composition and activity of prokaryotes associated to detrital particles in two contrasting lake ecosystems.

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Laboratoire de Biologie des Protistes, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand II, Aubière, France.


The composition, distribution and extracellular enzyme activities of bacteria attached to small (2-50 microm in size) transparent exopolymer and Coomassie-stained proteinaceous particles (TEP and CSP) were examined in two lakes of different trophic status located in the Massif Central of France. TEP concentrations (10(4)-10(6) particle per L) were significantly higher in the more productive lake and were significantly related to chlorophyll a concentrations. The majority of TEP and CSP were colonized by bacteria that constituted 2.6% and 7.4% of the total 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole-stained bacteria in lakes Pavin and Aydat, respectively. In both lakes, the composition of particle-associated bacteria was different from that of free-living bacteria, the Betaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes (i.e. former Cytophaga-Flavobacteria group) being the dominant groups on particles. We also found that 2-5 microm TEP were more colonized than 2-5 microm CSP in the two lakes, and that TEP colonization was higher in the less productive lake. Measurements of Leucine aminopeptidase and alpha-glucosidase activities in fractionated lake water (0.2-1.2, 1.2-5 and >5 microm fractions) indicated that proteolytic activity was always higher and that particle-associated bacteria have higher enzymatic activities than free-living bacteria. The glycolytic activities in the 1.2-5 and >5 microm fractions were related to the abundance of TEP. We conclude that small freshwater detrital organic particles constitute microhabitats with high bacterial activities in pelagic environments and, undoubtedly, present significant ecological implications for the prokaryotic community structure and function in aquatic ecosystems.

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