Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences, 15, 809-819, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-809-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
09 Feb 2018
Virus-mediated transfer of nitrogen from heterotrophic bacteria to phytoplankton
Emma J. Shelford1 and Curtis A. Suttle1,2,3,4 1Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
2Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
3Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
4Institute of Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Abstract. Lytic infection of bacteria by viruses releases nutrients during cell lysis and stimulates the growth of primary producers, but the path by which these nutrients flow from lysates to primary producers has not been traced. This study examines the remineralisation of nitrogen (N) from Vibrio lysates by heterotrophic bacterioplankton and its transfer to primary producers. In laboratory trials, Vibrio sp. strain PWH3a was infected with a lytic virus (PWH3a-P1) and the resulting 36.0 µmol L−1 of dissolved organic N (DON) in the lysate was added to cultures containing cyanobacteria (Synechococcus sp. strain DC2) and a natural bacterial assemblage. Based on the increase in cyanobacteria, 74 % (26.5 µmol L−1 N) of the DON in the lysate was remineralised and taken up. Lysate from Vibrio sp. strain PWH3a labeled with 15NH4+ was also added to seawater containing natural microbial communities, and in four field experiments, stable isotope analysis indicated that the uptake of 15N was 0.09 to 0.70 µmol N µg−1 of chlorophyll a. The results from these experiments demonstrate that DON from lysate can be efficiently remineralised and transferred to phytoplankton, and they provide further evidence that the viral shunt is an important link in nitrogen recycling in aquatic systems.
Citation: Shelford, E. J. and Suttle, C. A.: Virus-mediated transfer of nitrogen from heterotrophic bacteria to phytoplankton, Biogeosciences, 15, 809-819, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-809-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
This work demonstrates that lysis by viruses facilitates the transfer of nitrogen to phytoplankton in the ocean, and thus viruses are key players in nitrogen cycling in the oceans and in maintaining oxygen production by marine primary producers.
This work demonstrates that lysis by viruses facilitates the transfer of nitrogen to...
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