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A laboratory study on biochemical degradation and microbial utilization of organic matter comprising a marine diatom, land grass, and salt marsh plant in estuarine ecosystems
Dai, J.; Sun, M.-Y.; Culp, R.A.; Noakes, J.E. (2009). A laboratory study on biochemical degradation and microbial utilization of organic matter comprising a marine diatom, land grass, and salt marsh plant in estuarine ecosystems. Aquat. Ecol. 43(4): 825-841. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10452-008-9211-x
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Marine; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Altamaha estuaryBiochemical reactivityBulk parametersFatty acidsCompound-specific isotopic compositionsCo-metabolismRedox conditionsBacterial utilization

Authors  Top 
  • Dai, J.
  • Sun, M.-Y.
  • Culp, R.A.
  • Noakes, J.E.

Abstract
    We studied the biochemical degradation of organic matter comprising marine diatom, land grass, and salt marsh plant in estuarine ecosystems in two laboratory microcosms consisting of estuarine sediments and coastal seawater. The materials were incubated separately and together under controlled oxic and anoxic conditions to test effects of co-metabolism and redox on overall degradation of organic matter. We followed variations of bulk parameters [total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), C/N ratio, δ13CTOC, and δ15NTN], fatty acid concentrations, and compound-specific δ13C values over 3 months. Coexistence of marine diatom (relatively labile) with land grass/salt marsh plant (relatively refractory) in the microcosms yielded a negative co-metabolism effect (retardation rather than acceleration) on the overall degradation of organic matter. The ratios of oxic to anoxic degradation rate constants (kox/kan) of TOC and most fatty acids were in a range of 1.1–1.7, implying that redox conditions per se had a limited influence on degradation of fresh organic materials in estuarine ecosystems. Variations of two bacteria-specific fatty acids (iso- and anteiso-15:0) and their δ13C values indicated that bacterial metabolism could use organic carbon (OC) from any available material when only one single-source material was dominant in the ecosystems. However, bacteria probably utilized OC preferentially from labile marine diatom when multiple-source materials were almost equally present in the ecosystems.

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