Influence of bacterial activities on nitrogen uptake rates determined by the application of antibiotics
Tungaraza, C × Brion, N Rousseau, V Baeyens, W Goeyens, Leo #
Polish acad sciences inst oceanology
Oceanologia vol:45 issue:3 pages:473-489
The influence of bacterial activities on inorganic nutrients has always affected total phytoplankton uptake rates owing to the absence of a reliable method that can exclude these effects. The use of natural samples to determine the contribution of bacterial activities has been based on the size fractionation method which, unfortunately, is encumbered with uncertainties, especially because of the size overlap between bacteria and phytoplankton communities. In this paper, the results are reported of an estimation of bacterial activities by the use of inhibitors (antibiotics). It was shown that the contribution of bacterial activities to the uptake of nitrogenous nutrients was highest for ammonium (79%), followed by nitrate (72%) and urea (62%). In a second set of experiments the concentration of ammonium was raised by 5 muM. This was done to avoid nutrient limitation resulting from the absence of recycled nutrients following the addition of antibiotics and the maximum contribution of bacterial activity to the uptake rate of ammonium increased to 87%. It can be concluded that the use of inhibitors is a good method, a reliable alternative to the fractionation method. However, it is important to note that inhibitors can affect both phytoplankton growth and the nutrient recycling process. Our results indicate that the application of antibiotics had measurable effects not only on the target bacteria but also on the uptake behaviour of phytoplankton. Our observations were therefore limited to the period when there was no effect on the phytoplankton, as was demonstrated by a carbon protein incorporation experiment.