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Selective chemoattraction of the benthic diatom Seminavis robusta to phosphate but not to inorganic nitrogen sources contributes to biofilm structuring
Bondoc, K.G.V.; Lembke, C.; Vyverman, W.; Pohnert, G. (2019). Selective chemoattraction of the benthic diatom Seminavis robusta to phosphate but not to inorganic nitrogen sources contributes to biofilm structuring. Microbiologyopen 8(4): e00694. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mbo3.694
In: Microbiologyopen. Wiley-Blackwell: Hoboken. ISSN 2045-8827, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    algae; biofilm biology; growth and survival; microbial behavior;nutrient acquisition

Authors  Top 
  • Bondoc, K.G.V.
  • Lembke, C.
  • Vyverman, W., more
  • Pohnert, G.

Abstract
    Diatoms frequently dominate marine and freshwater biofilms as major primary producers. Nutrient resources in these biofilms are patchily distributed and fluctuate dynamically over time. We recently reported that this spatially and temporally structured environment can be exploited by motile diatoms that use chemoattraction to dissolved silicate (dSi) under Si starvation. Here, we show that the behavioral response of diatoms is more complex and selective as cells are also responding to gradients of dissolved phosphate (dP) when starved in this nutrient. In contrast, neither nitrate nor ammonium (dN) triggers an attractive response under nitrogen limitation. Video monitoring and movement pattern analysis of the model diatom Seminavis robusta revealed that dP attraction is mediated by a combined chemokinetic and chemotactic response. After locating nutrient hotspots, the microalgae slow down and recover from the limitation. The fastest recovery in terms of growth was observed after dSi limitation. In agreement with the lack of directional response, recovery from dN limitation was slowest, indicating that no short‐term benefit would be drawn by the algae from the location of transient hotspots of this resource. Our results highlight the ability of diatoms to adapt to nutrient limitation by active foraging and might explain their success in patchy benthic environments.

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