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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 56:177-192 (2009)  -  DOI:

Contributions of anoxygenic and oxygenic phototrophy and chemolithotrophy to carbon and oxygen fluxes in aquatic environments

John A. Raven*

Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee at Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK

ABSTRACT: Estimates of aquatic primary productivity at local, regional or global scales commonly concentrate on oxygenic photolithotrophy. The analysis presented here briefly considers the occurrence and metabolism of other autotrophs sensu lato, i.e. not just the organisms with an autotrophic inorganic carbon assimilation machinery. These other autotrophs include chemolithotrophs and anoxygenic photolithotrophs, of which some use the photosynthetic carbon reduction cycle as do oxygenic photolithotrophs, while others use one of 4 other pathways. The category of other autotrophs also includes organisms that possess photochemical energy transduction machinery but lack autotrophic carbon assimilation; light stimulates the growth rates of these autotrophs and/or increases the fraction of the organic carbon substrate used that is converted into cell material when using light energy. Organisms lacking autotrophic inorganic carbon assimilation influence food webs by increasing the rate, or efficiency, of conversion of dissolved organic carbon ultimately derived from autotrophic inorganic carbon assimilation into particulate organic carbon. Chemolithotrophs and anoxygenic autotrophs today depend on the activities of oxygenic chemolithotrophs for one or more of their growth substrates, and thus contribute to global net primary productivity but not to global gross primary productivity. Global net aquatic primary productivity by oxygenic photolithotrophs is at least 50 Pg C yr–1, while chemolithotrophs and anoxygenic photolithotrophs together contribute about 0.40 Pg C yr–1. Before the occurrence of oxygenic photolithotrophs in the Archaean, chemolithotrophs and anoxygenic photolithotrophs had a net primary productivity of about 3.4 Pg C yr–1, which is higher than the present values largely because anoxygenic photolithotrophs were able to inhabit the euphotic zone worldwide.

KEY WORDS: Archaean · 3-hydroxypropionate pathway · Inorganic carbon concentrating mechanisms · Photosynthetic carbon reduction cycle · Reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle · Resource use · Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase

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Cite this article as: Raven JA (2009) Contributions of anoxygenic and oxygenic phototrophy and chemolithotrophy to carbon and oxygen fluxes in aquatic environments. Aquat Microb Ecol 56:177-192.

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