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. 2016 Dec;18(12):4596-4609.
doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13557. Epub 2016 Nov 13.

Cell-specific Nitrogen- And Carbon-Fixation of Cyanobacteria in a Temperate Marine System (Baltic Sea)

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Cell-specific Nitrogen- And Carbon-Fixation of Cyanobacteria in a Temperate Marine System (Baltic Sea)

I Klawonn et al. Environ Microbiol. .

Abstract

We analysed N2 - and carbon (C) fixation in individual cells of Baltic Sea cyanobacteria by combining stable isotope incubations with secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Specific growth rates based on N2 - and C-fixation were higher for cells of Dolichospermum spp. than for Aphanizomenon sp. and Nodularia spumigena. The cyanobacterial biomass, however, was dominated by Aphanizomenon sp., which contributed most to total N2 -fixation in surface waters of the Northern Baltic Proper. N2 -fixation by Pseudanabaena sp. and colonial picocyanobacteria was not detectable. N2 -fixation by Aphanizomenon sp., Dolichospermum spp. and N. spumigena populations summed up to total N2 -fixation, thus these genera appeared as sole diazotrophs within the Baltic Sea's euphotic zone, while their mean contribution to total C-fixation was 21%. Intriguingly, cell-specific N2 -fixation was eightfold higher at a coastal station compared to an offshore station, revealing coastal zones as habitats with substantial N2 -fixation. At the coastal station, the cell-specific C- to N2 -fixation ratio was below the cellular C:N ratio, i.e. N2 was assimilated in excess to C-fixation, whereas the C- to N2 -fixation ratio exceeded the C:N ratio in offshore sampled diazotrophs. Our findings highlight SIMS as a powerful tool not only for qualitative but also for quantitative N2 -fixation assays in aquatic environments.

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