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International Microbiology

versión impresa ISSN 1139-6709


FRETTE, Lone et al. Functional characteristics of culturable bacterioplankton from marine and estuarine environments. INT. MICROBIOL. [online]. 2004, vol.7, n.3, pp.219-227. ISSN 1139-6709.

Information on the structure of bacterioplankton communities is continuously increasing, while knowledge of their metabolic capabilities remains limited. In this study, the metabolic capacity of bacterioplankton was investigated, as such information is necessary to fully understand carbon cycling and other biogeochemical processes. The diversity of dominant culturable chemoorganotrophic bacteria from one estuarine and three marine environments was analyzed by random isolation of colony-forming units on solid media, taxonomical identification by partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, and functional characterization of the isolates. A total of 76 16S rRNA gene sequences, representing 19 different genotypes, were obtained from the four sampling localities, including Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Pseudoalteromonas, Vibrio, and Erythrobacter as the most frequently isolated genera. The range of metabolic functions possessed by the cultured bacterial assemblages differed significantly between sites. Similarly, the percentage at each sampling station of bacteria capable of performing a specific function was significantly different for 18 of the 25 investigated metabolic functions. At two localities, the bacterial assemblages were dominated by a single genus (Pseudoalteromonas or Erythrobacter) and appeared to be functionally specialized. More than 95% of the isolates were capable of utilizing dissolved free amino acids and protein as their sole nitrogen sources, and all isolates of the specialized assemblages expressed β-glucosidase. Furthermore, only some of the isolates were able to utilize NH4+, while up to two thirds of the isolates of the two marine sites were able to grow on NO3-.

Palabras clave : culturable bacterioplanktom; physiological characterization; taxonomical and functional diversity; metabolic capacity.

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