Characterization, seasonal occurrence, and diel fluctuation of poly(hydroxyalkanoate) in photosynthetic microbial mats.

TitleCharacterization, seasonal occurrence, and diel fluctuation of poly(hydroxyalkanoate) in photosynthetic microbial mats.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsRothermich MM, Guerrero R, Lenz RW, Goodwin S
JournalAppl Environ Microbiol
Date Published2000 Oct
KeywordsAlkanes, Biofilms, Hydroxybutyrates, Massachusetts, Photosynthesis, Seasons, Spain, Valerates, Water, Water Microbiology

In situ poly(hydroxyalkanoate) (PHA) levels and repeating-unit compositions were examined in stratified photosynthetic microbial mats from Great Sippewissett Salt Marsh, Mass., and Ebro Delta, Spain. Unlike what has been observed in pure cultures of phototrophic bacteria, the prevalence of hydroxyvalerate (HV) repeating units relative to hydroxybutyrate (HB) repeating units was striking. In the cyanobacteria-dominated green material of Sippewissett mats, the mole percent ratio of repeating units was generally 1HB:1HV. In the purple sulfur bacteria-dominated pink material the relationship was typically 1HB:2HV. In Sippewissett mats, PHA contributed about 0.5 to 1% of the organic carbon in the green layer and up to 6% in the pink layer. In Ebro Delta mats, PHA of approximately 1HB:2HV-repeating-unit distribution contributed about 2% of the organic carbon of the composite photosynthetic layers (the green and pink layers were not separated). Great Sippewissett Salt Marsh mats were utilized for more extensive investigation of seasonal, diel, and exogenous carbon effects. When the total PHA content was normalized to organic carbon, there was little seasonal variation in PHA levels. However, routine daily variation was evident at all sites and seasons. In every case, PHA levels increased during the night and decreased during the day. This phenomenon was conspicuous in the pink layer, where PHA levels doubled overnight. The daytime declines could be inhibited by artificial shading. Addition of exogenous acetate, lactate, and propionate induced two- to fivefold increases in the total PHA levels when applied in the daylight but had no effect when applied at night. The distinct diel pattern of in situ PHA accumulation at night appears to be related, in some phototrophs, to routine dark energy metabolism and is not influenced by the availability of organic nutrients.

Alternate JournalAppl. Environ. Microbiol.
PubMed ID11010871