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Oxygen toxicity, respiration and behavioural responses to oxygen in free-living anaerobic ciliates
Fenchel, T.; Finlay, B.J. (1990). Oxygen toxicity, respiration and behavioural responses to oxygen in free-living anaerobic ciliates. J. Gen. Microbiol. 136(10): 1953-1959.
In: Journal of General Microbiology. Society for General Microbiology: London; New York. ISSN 0022-1287, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Anaerobiosis; Chemotaxis; Microhabitats; Oxygen; Toxicity; Metopus contortus (Quennerstedt, 1867) [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Fenchel, T., more
  • Finlay, B.J.

    Three species of marine, anaerobic free-living ciliates (Metopus contortus, Plagiopyla frontata and Parablepharisma collare) were studied with respect to their relation to O2. Survival was adversely affected at O2 tensions exceeding 1-2% of atmospheric (air) saturation (atm. sat.): Parablepharisma collare survived for about 1 h at 100% atm. sat., while the other two species survived the treatment for up to 2 d. Survival in the presence of O2 depended on the composition of the medium; cells survived longer in clean seawater than in culture medium which, when exposed to O2, became toxic. Metopus contortus and Plagiopyla frontata respired O2 at rates similar to those of aerobic species; this O2 uptake is not coupled to energy conservation since the ciliates do not contain cytochromes, and low O2 tensions do not stimulate growth. O2 consumption is probably a detoxification mechanism which can maintain an intracellular anaerobic environment at a low ambient O2 tension. Metopus contortus and Plagiopyla frontata showed chemosensory behaviour in response to O2; this allowed them to find and remain within anaerobic microhabitats.

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