Main content area

Incorporation of Glucose under Anoxic Conditions by Bacterioplankton from Coastal North Sea Surface Waters

Alonso, Cecilia, Pernthaler, Jakob
Applied and environmental microbiology 2005 v.71 no.4 pp. 1709-1716
Alteromonadaceae, Euryarchaeota, Roseobacter, Vibrio, anaerobic conditions, anaerobiosis, bacteria, bacterioplankton, carbon, cell membranes, coastal water, filters, fluorescence in situ hybridization, glucose, labeling techniques, seawater, surface water, North Sea
It has been hypothesized that the potential for anaerobic metabolism might be a common feature of bacteria in coastal marine waters (L. Riemann and F. Azam, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 68: 5554-5562, 2002). Therefore, we investigated whether different phylogenetic groups of heterotrophic picoplankton from the coastal North Sea were able to take up a simple carbon source under anoxic conditions. Oxic and anoxic incubations (4 h) or enrichments (24 h) of seawater with radiolabeled glucose were performed in July and August 2003. Bacteria with incorporated substrate were identified by using a novel protocol in which we combined fluorescence in situ hybridization and microautoradiography of cells on membrane filters. Incorporation of glucose under oxic and anoxic conditions was found in [alpha]-Proteobacteria, [gamma]-Proteobacteria, and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium cluster of the Bacteroidetes at both times, but not in marine EURYARCHAEOTA: In July, the majority of cells belonging to the [alpha]-proteobacterial Roseobacter clade showed tracer incorporation both in oxic incubations and in oxic and anoxic enrichments. In August, only a minority of the Roseobacter cells, but most bacteria affiliated with Vibrio spp., were able to incorporate the tracer under either condition. A preference for glucose uptake under anoxic conditions was observed for bacteria related to Alteromonas and the Pseudoalteromonas-Colwellia group. These genera are commonly considered to be strictly aerobic, but facultatively fermentative strains have been described. Our findings suggest that the ability to incorporate substrates anaerobically is widespread in pelagic marine bacteria belonging to different phylogenetic groups. Such bacteria may be abundant in fully aerated coastal marine surface waters.