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Journal Article

Concentrations and fluxes of organic carbon substrates in the aquatic environment

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Münster,  U.
Department Microbial Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Münster, U. (1993). Concentrations and fluxes of organic carbon substrates in the aquatic environment. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 63(3-4), 243-274.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-E425-B
Abstract
Data concerning concentrations and fluxes of dissolved organic compounds (DOC) from marine and lacustrine environments are reviewed and discussed. Dissolved free amino acids and carbohydrates comprised the main fraction in the labile organic carbon pool. Dissolved free amino acids in marine waters varied between 3-1400 nM and those of freshwaters between 2.6-4124 nM. Dissolved free carbohydrates varied between 0.4-5000 nM in marine systems and between 14-1111 nM in freshwaters. The turnover times of both substrate pools varied in marine waters between 1.4 hours and 948 days and in freshwaters between 2 hours and 51 days. Measurements of stable C-12/13-ratio and C-14-isotope dating in ocean deep water samples revealed DOC turnover times between 2000-6000 years. Studies on carbon flows within the aquatic food webs revealed that about 50% of photosynthetically fixed carbon was channelled via DOC to the bacterioplankton. Excreted organic carbon varied between 1-70% of photosynthetically fixed carbon in marine waters and between 1-99% in freshwaters. The labile organic carbon pool represented only 10-30% of the DOC. The majority (70-90%) of the DOC was recalcitrant to microbial assimilation. Only 10-20% of the DOC could be easily chemically identified. Most of the large bulk material represented dissolved humic matter and neither the chemical structure nor the ecological function of the DOC is as yet clearly understood.