|Extracellular release of small and large molecules by phytoplankton in the southern Bight of the North Sea|In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
phytoplankton; excretion; polymers; bacteria; Belgian coast; estuary; English Channel
Extracellular release by phytoplankton of small and large metabolites (molecular weight 500 d) is determined kinetically in various marine ecosystems including the eutrophic Scheldt estuary, the Belgian coastal zone and the oligotrophic English Channel. Kinetic curves show that while small metabolites are immediately released in the external medium, a lag phase is always observed in the release of large metabolites. Results indicate that 9–48% of the total excreted amount ends up in the small metabolites pool with no dependence on light intensity or nutritive conditions. Relative rates of heterotrophic uptake of the phytoplankton extracellular metabolites are calculated from the time dependent distribution of 14C labelled extracellular products. The data indicate that small molecules with high turnover rates (up to 25% h-1) may occasionally be excreted by phytoplankton cells. The turnover time of high molecular weight excreted compounds is much longer. A correlation is found between the rate of production of these large extracellular metabolites and the exoenzymatic activity of the bacterial populations.