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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 70:261-272 (2013)  -  DOI:

Effects of attached bacteria on organic aggregate settling velocity in seawater

Yosuke Yamada, Hideki Fukuda, Katsuyuki Inoue, Kazuhiro Kogure, Toshi Nagata*

Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-8564 Japan
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We investigated whether attached bacteria affect the settling velocity of organic aggregates via modifications of the physical properties of aggregates, including density, porosity, and morphology. Model aggregates, prepared by mixing 2 different polysaccharides (fucoidan and chitosan), were incubated in coastal seawater passed through either 0.8 µm (AGG0.8) or 0.2 µm (AGG0.2) filters. After incubation for 48 h, AGG0.8 were much more densely (3.2- to 10.1-fold) colonized by bacteria than AGG0.2. Based on median settling velocities (W50), as determined by laser in situ scattering and transmissometry, the W50 of AGG0.8 was lower (1.6- to 4.5-fold) than that of AGG0.2 for a size class of 62 to 119 µm. Stokes model analyses indicated that this reduction in W50 could be largely attributed to the higher porosities of AGG0.8 (0.932-0.981) than those of AGG0.2 (0.719-0.929). Our results support the notion that the modification of aggregate structure by attached bacteria (porosity enhancement) can be an important factor controlling the settling velocity of marine particles.

KEY WORDS: Bacteria · Aggregate · Settling velocity · Porosity · Marine environments

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Cite this article as: Yamada Y, Fukuda H, Inoue K, Kogure K, Nagata T (2013) Effects of attached bacteria on organic aggregate settling velocity in seawater. Aquat Microb Ecol 70:261-272.

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