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Characterization of sulphate-reducing bacterial populations within marine and estuarine sediments with different rates of sulphate reduction

Parkes, Ronald John, Dowling, N. J. E., White, D. C., Herbert, R. A. and Gibson, G. R. 1993. Characterization of sulphate-reducing bacterial populations within marine and estuarine sediments with different rates of sulphate reduction. FEMS Microbiology Letters 102 (3-4) , pp. 235-250. 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1993.tb05815.x

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Abstract

Viable counts of sulphate-reducing bacteria, able to use a range of different growth substrates were determined in sediments from two Sea Lochs (Etive and Eil) and an estuarine site (Tay), in Scotland. The composition of the sulphate-reducing bacterial population, in terms of substrate utilization, broadly corresponded to the in situ substrates for sulphate reduction and concentration of substrates at each site. Addition of acetate, lactate, propionate, butyrate, hydrogen and glutamate/serine (20 mM) to replicate slurries from each site resulted in stimulation of the corresponding population of sulphate-reducing bacteria and the in situ rates of sulphate reduction. The metabolism of the added substrates and changes in bacterial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) were quantified. With the exception of acetate and hydrogen, added substrates were incompletely oxidised, producing a mixture of further substrates, which predominantly were sequentially oxidised, and resulted in the stimulation of a mixed population of sulphate-reducing bacteria. There were significant changes in the PLFA of slurries with added substrate compared to controls. Acetate was completely removed at all sites and the small increase in even chain PLFA together with the absence of stimulation of any other biomarker, indicated that acetate was oxidised by sulphate-reducing bacteria distinctly different from those using other substrates. A biomarker for Desulfobacter, 10 Methyl 16:0, was not stimulated in any of the acetate slurries or in slurries where acetate was produced. Biomarkers for the propionate utilizing Desulfobulbus sp (17:1w6, 15:1w6) were always stimulated in propionate slurries and also in lactate slurries, where partial lactate fermentation produced propionate and acetate. In lactate and glutamate / serine slurries from the Tay estuary and lactate and hydrogen slurries from Loch Etive the biomarker for Desulfovibrio sp (i17:1w7) as well as those for Desulfobulbus were stimulated. This provides direct evidence for the significance of Desulfovibrio sp. within sediment slurries and demonstrates the competitive interaction between members of this genus and Desulfobulbus sp. for lactate, hydrogen and amino acid metabolism. At the estuarine site, sulphate reduction was limited at higher sulphate concentrations (about 3.5 mM) than the Sea Loch sites (<2 mM) and this had a significant effect on propionate and butyrate metabolism, as well as on methane production. These results demonstrate that although the sulphate-reducing bacterial population at each site could metabolise identical substrates, the types of sulphate-reducing bacteria involved and their sulphate thresholds were characteristically different.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bacterial biomarker; Viable count; Substrates for sulphate reduction; Sediment slurry; Sulphate threshold; Oxidation and fermentation
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0378-1097
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:07
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/9358

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