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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 15:247-253 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/ame015247

Bacterial-algal interactions in polysaccharide production

Franca Guerrini, Annalisa Mazzotti, Laurita Boni, Rossella Pistocchi*

Scienze Ambientali, Università di Bologna, Via Tombesi dall'Ova 55, I-48100 Ravenna, Italy
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: The effects of phosphate limitation and of the presence of marine bacteria during phosphate limitation on growth and polysaccharide production in the diatom Cylindrotheca fusiformis grown in batch cultures are described in this paper. Growth of C. fusiformis was inhibited under low Pi (inorganic phosphate) conditions, corresponding to an increasing N/P ratio, and higher amounts of polysaccharides were extruded in the medium, in particular during the stationary phase of growth. The presence of bacteria reduced phytoplankton cell density only when the phosphate added corresponded to 1/6 of the initial amount. Even when diatom cell growth was not affected, the presence of bacteria stimulated a higher polysaccharide production. These results are interpreted in the light of the fact that nutrient-stressed phytoplankton cells produced and released a higher amount of polysaccharides and, as bacteria exhibited a better utilization of phosphate than algal cells, their presence accentuated the Pi depletion, resulting in a higher polysaccharide production.

KEY WORDS: Bacteria · Diatom · Growth · Marine snow · Polysaccharides

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