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The utilization of polysaccharides by heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the Bay of Biscay (North Atlantic Ocean)
Piontek, J.; Handel, N.; De Bodt, C.; Harlay, J.; Chou, L.; Engel, A. (2011). The utilization of polysaccharides by heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the Bay of Biscay (North Atlantic Ocean). J. Plankton Res. 33(11): 1719-1735.
In: Journal of Plankton Research. Oxford University Press: New York,. ISSN 0142-7873; e-ISSN 1464-3774, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 231124 [ OMA ]

Author keywords
    marine bacterioplankton; polysaccharides; extracellular enzymes;

Authors  Top 
  • Piontek, J.
  • Handel, N.
  • De Bodt, C., more
  • Harlay, J., more
  • Chou, L., more
  • Engel, A.

    This study investigates the turnover of polysaccharides by heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the northern Bay of Biscay, a productive marine system on the continental margin of the temperate Atlantic Ocean. Bacterial biomass production (BBP) near the surface ranged from 0.5 to 25.7 nmol CL-1 h-1 during small phytoplankton blooms in May and June that occurred after the main spring bloom. A direct relationship between BBP and total polysaccharides strongly suggests the dependence of bacterial growth on the availability of semi-labile organic matter. Concentrations of combined glucose as well as rate constants of extracellular glucosidase activity and glucose uptake were determined to estimate the actual carbon fluxes from bacterial polysaccharide turnover. Results reveal that the degradation of polysaccharides in the upper 100 m of the water column sustained a glucose flux of 15.2-32.3 mg C m-2 d-1 that was available for bacterial consumption. The mean turnover time for polysaccharides was 170 and 165 days for alpha- and beta-glycosidic linked polymers, respectively. Incorporation of free glucose supported 0.4-19.6% of BBP. The availability of nitrate plus nitrite (NOx) was identified as one factor increasing bacterial incorporation of glucose in most samples. Our results demonstrate that the bacterial recycling of polysaccharides generated a significant flux of organic carbon in microbial food-webs and biogeochemical processes.

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