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Arch Microbiol. 1998 Feb;169(2):120-8.

The ecological niche of the consortium "Pelochromatium roseum"

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Palaomikrobiologie, Institut fur Chemie und Biologie des Meeres, Universitat Oldenburg, Postfach 2503, D-26111 Oldenburg, Germany.


A dense accumulation of the phototrophic consortium "Pelochromatium roseum" in a small, eutrophic, freshwater lake (Dagowsee, Brandenburg, Germany) was investigated. Within the chemocline, the number of epibionts of the consortia represented up to 19% of the total number of bacteria. Per "P. roseum" a mean value of 20 epibionts was determined. Similar to other aquatic habitats, consortia in the Dagowsee were found only at low light intensities (< 7 &mgr;mol quanta m-2 s-1) and low sulfide concentrations (0-100 &mgr;M). In dialysis cultures of "P. roseum", bacterial cells remained in a stable association only when incubated at light intensities between 5 and 10 &mgr;mol quanta m-2 s-1. Intact consortia from natural samples had a buoyant density of 1046.8 kg m-3, which was much higher than that of ambient chemocline water (995.8 kg m-3). Under environmental conditions and without motility, this density difference would result in rapid sedimentation of consortia toward the lake bottom. Our results indicate that (1) consortia are adapted to a very narrow regime of light intensities and sulfide concentrations, (2) motility and tactic responses must be of ecological significance for the colonization of the free water column of lakes, and (3) phototrophic growth of consortia can be explained only by a cycling of sulfur species in the chemocline, possibly within the consortia themselves.


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