Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Viruses and algae in the Sea

16.09.2013
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and their colleagues from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research uncover how viruses regulate carbon release from the alga Phaeocystis globosa. They published their discovery in the ISME Journal.

Phaeocystis globosa is an alga forming harmful blooms in the coastal waters of the North Sea. The decay of algal biomass at the end of the bloom leads to massive release of organic matter, which in turn stimulates the growth of a variety of heterotrophic gamma- and alpha-proteobacteria.


Formation of filamentous star-like structures here visualized with atomic force microscopy.
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology


Formation of filamentous star-like structures here visualized with nanoSIMS
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

‘An important source of mortality for these algae are lytic P. globosa viruses. We therefore investigated how algal viral infection and subsequent lysis affects the community structure of the associated bacteria,’ explains Dr. Abdul R. Sheik, the lead author of this study.

In control experiments they showed that the bacterial composition of infected algal cultures differed from non-infected cultures after 5 hours. In order to understand the underlying mechanism Dr. Sheik and colleagues monitored the uptake of the released organic material by the bacterioplankton using isotopically-labeled algal biomass (with isotopes of nitrogen and carbon).

Assimilation of the substrate was quantified in single bacterial cells using imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) with a sub-micrometer spatial resolution. ‘Surprisingly, we saw colonization of algal cells and uptake of labeled carbon and nitrogen by Alteromonas cells long before the algal cells lysed’, explains Abdul Sheik. ‘This suggests that infected but still intact algae can already shape the microbial community composition by excretion or leakage of organic matter.’

The bacterial turnover of algal products was so rapid that ca. 40% of the particulate organic carbon was re-mineralized to CO2 within one week after infection, leaving behind refractive material in the form of cellular star-like structures (see Figure).

These results reveal a new pathway in the transfer of algal biomass to the bacterioplankton and, in a larger picture, new mechanism of retaining carbon in the euphotic zone.

Further Information
Dr. Abdul R. Sheik, +352 46 66 44 5746, abdul.sheik@uni.lu
Prof. Dr. Marcel Kuypers, +49 421 2028602, mkuypers@mpi-bremen.de
Press office
Dr. Manfred Schloesser, +49 421 2028704, mschloes@mpi-bremen.de
Involved institutions
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Dynamics, Amsterdam
Original article
Responses of the coastal bacterial community to viral infection of the algae Phaeocystis globosa
Abdul R. Sheik, Corina P. D. Brussaard, Gaute Lavik, Phyllis Lam, Niculina Musat, Andreas Krupke, Sten Littmann, Marc Strous and Marcel M. M. Kuypers

doi: 10.1038/ismej.2013.135

Dr. Manfred Schloesser | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.mpi-bremen.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>