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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 85:211-218 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01951

Phosphate diester utilization by marine diazotrophs Trichodesmium erythraeum and Crocosphaera watsonii

Tamaha Yamaguchi1,2,*, Mitsuhide Sato2,3, Natsuki Gonda2, Kazutaka Takahashi2, Ken Furuya2,4

1Fisheries Resources Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, Kanagawa 236-8648, Japan
2Department of Aquatic Bioscience, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
3Graduate School of Fisheries and Environmental Sciences, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan
4Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Soka University, Tokyo 192-8577, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In the phosphate-depleted oligotrophic ocean, microbes utilize various dissolved organic phosphorus (P) compounds as alternative P sources, using enzymes such as alkaline phosphatases. However, knowledge of such P acquisition mechanisms is limited, especially in association with the physiology of nitrogen-fixing organisms, which play a substantial role in marine biogeochemical cycling. We show that nonaxenic clonal cultures of 2 oceanic diazotrophs, Trichodesmium erythraeum and Crocosphaera watsonii, have the ability to utilize phosphate diester as their sole P source, using a model artificial compound—bis- p-nitrophenyl phosphate (bisNPP). Although both diazotroph cultures likely preferred phosphate monoester to diester, the expressed diesterase activity was theoretically sufficient to fulfill their P demands, and they showed significant growth in bisNPP-added media. Interestingly, a distinct difference in their growth trends was observed, with faster onset of growth by C. watsonii and delayed onset of growth by T. erythraeum. This indicates that the C. watsonii consortium can effectively and rapidly assimilate in situ diesters as alternative P sources in the field. Nonetheless, when considering the poor bisNPP utilization reported from other marine phytoplankton taxa, our results indicate that the utilization of particular diester compounds is a notable and advantageous strategy for both diazotroph consortia to alleviate P limitation in the oligotrophic ocean.


KEY WORDS: Trichodesmium · Crocosphaera · Phosphate diester · Alkaline phosphatase activity


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Cite this article as: Yamaguchi T, Sato M, Gonda N, Takahashi K, Furuya K (2020) Phosphate diester utilization by marine diazotrophs Trichodesmium erythraeum and Crocosphaera watsonii. Aquat Microb Ecol 85:211-218. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01951

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