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ISME J. 2009 Dec;3(12):1325-34. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2009.70. Epub 2009 Jul 30.

Water stress impacts on bacterial carbon monoxide oxidation on recent volcanic deposits.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.

Abstract

Water availability oscillates dramatically on young volcanic deposits, and may control the distribution and activity of microbes during early stages of biological succession. Carbon monoxide (CO)-oxidizing bacteria are among the pioneering colonists on volcanic deposits and are subjected to these water stresses. We report here the effects of water potential on CO-oxidizing bacteria in unvegetated (bare) and vegetated (canopy) sites on a 1959 volcanic deposit on Kilauea Volcano (Hawai'i). Time course measurements of water potential showed that average water potentials in the surface layer (0-1 cm) of canopy soil remained between -0.1 and 0 MPa, whereas dramatic diurnal oscillations (for example, between -60 and 0 MPa) occur in bare site surface cinders. During a moderate drying event in situ (-1.7 to 0 MPa), atmospheric CO consumption by intact bare site cores decreased 2.7-fold. For bare and canopy surface samples, maximum potential CO oxidation rates decreased 40 and 60%, respectively, when water potentials were lowered from 0 to -1.5 MPa in the laboratory. These observations indicated that CO oxidation is moderately sensitive to changes in water potential. Additional analyses showed that CO oxidation resumes within a few hours of rehydration, even after desiccation at -150 MPa for 63 days. Samples from both sites exposed to multiple cycles of drying and rewetting (-80 to 0 MPa), lost significant activity after the first cycle, but not after subsequent cycles. Similar responses of CO oxidation in both sites suggested that active CO-oxidizing communities in bare and canopy sites do not express differential adaptations to water stress.

PMID:
19641536
DOI:
10.1038/ismej.2009.70
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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