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Environ Microbiol. 2007 Mar;9(3):789-800.

Grazer and virus-induced mortality of bacterioplankton accelerates development of Flectobacillus populations in a freshwater community.

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Biological Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Hydrobiological Institute, Na Sádkách 7, CZ-37005 Céské Budéjovice, Czech Republic.


We present a detailed analysis of the effects of distinct bacterial mortality factors, viral lysis and heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF) bacterivory, associated with the development of filamentous Flectobacillus populations. Reservoir bacterioplankton communities were subjected to additions of both HNF and viruses together, or HNF alone, and then incubated in situ in dialyses bags. For distinct bacterial groups, mortality or growth stimulation was analysed by examining bacterial prey ingested in HNF food vacuoles with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and via FISH with microautoradiography (MAR-FISH). We also developed a semi-quantitative MAR-FISH-based estimation of relative activities of Flectobacillus populations (targeted by the R-FL615 probe). Bacterial groups vulnerable to HNF predation (mainly clusters of Betaproteobacteria), or discriminated against (Actinobacteria), were detected. Bacterial lineages most vulnerable to virus-lysis (mainly the Betaproteobacteria not targeted by the R-BT065 probe, of the Polynucleobacter cluster) were identified by comparing treatments with HNF alone to HNF and viruses together. Filaments affiliated with the Flectobacillus cluster appeared in both treatments, but were about twice as abundant, long and active as in incubations with viruses and HNF as compared with HNF alone. Viruses appeared to selectively suppress several bacterial groups, perhaps enhancing substrate availability thus stimulating growth and activity of filamentous Flectobacillus.

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