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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 42:1-5 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/ame042001

Estimation of bacterial use of dissolved organic nitrogen compounds in aquatic ecosystems using Biolog plates

M. Montserrat Sala1,*, Jarone Pinhassi2, Josep M. Gasol1

1Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar, Centre Mediterrani d’Investigacions Marines i Ambientals (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37–49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Marine Microbiology, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Kalmar, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden

ABSTRACT: We demonstrated that bacterioplankton utilization of N-containing substrates, in relation to overall substrate utilization, can be assessed by calculating a nitrogen use (NUSE) index from Biolog-ECO microplate readings. The NUSE index was positively correlated with bacterial-specific aminopeptidase activity in coastal plankton samples, and it decreased after ammonia or amino acid addition to seawater cultures; this indicated that the index was sensitive to changes in N concentrations in natural samples. The index provides valuable information on dissolved organic nitrogen processing by natural bacterial assemblages, and thereby substantially expands the utility of the Biolog-ECO microplates.

KEY WORDS: Biolog · Bacterioplankton · Substrate utilization · Dissolved organic nitrogen · DON · Nutrients · Amino acids

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