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Journal Article

Differential microbial uptake of dissolved amino acids and amino sugars in surface waters of the Atlantic Ocean

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Zubkov,  M. V.
Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Fuchs,  B. M.
Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Zubkov, M. V., Tarran, G. A., Mary, I., & Fuchs, B. M. (2008). Differential microbial uptake of dissolved amino acids and amino sugars in surface waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Plankton Research, 30(2), 211-220.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CDAC-7
Abstract
Nitrogen bioavailability is considered to limit the productivity of oceanic oligotrophic gyres, the largest biomes on Earth. In order to assess the microbial requirement for small organic nitrogen molecules in these and other waters, the microbial uptake rates of amino acids (leucine, methionine and tyrosine) and amino sugars (glucosamine and N-acetyl-glucosamine) as well as glucose were compared using a bioassay technique of radiotracer dilution. The bioassays were carried out on four mid-Atlantic meridional transects spanning a latitudinal range from 60°N to 42°S. The mean concentrations of both bioavailable N-acetyl-glucosamine and glucose in the gyres were 1 nM, four times higher than the mean leucine concentration. Despite its lower concentration, the mean turnover time of leucine in the gyres of 15 h was 90 and 9 times shorter than the turnover time of N-acetyl-glucosamine and glucose, respectively. In addition, among amino acids, leucine was taken up in the gyres at a rate of 1.5 times faster than methionine and 2.5 times faster than tyrosine. Hence, oceanic bacterioplankton as a community showed a clear preference for amino acids, particularly leucine, compared with amino sugars. The preferential uptake of amino acids to sugars challenges the concept of microbial nitrogen or carbon limitation in the open ocean.