Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

»Bioavailability of soil organic matter and microbial community dynamics upon permafrost thaw
»7000 years of virus-host molecular dynamics in the Black Sea
»Preservation potential of ancient DNA in Pleistocene marine sediments: Implications for paleoenvironmental reconstructions
»Source-specific variability in post-depositional DNA preservation with potential implications for DNA-based paleecological records
»Exploring preserved ancient dinoflagellalte and haptophyte DNA signatures to infer ecological and environmental conditions during sapropel S1 formation in the eastern Mediterranean
»Ancient DNA in lake sediment records
»Vertical distribution of metabolically active eukaryotes in the water column and sediments of the Black Sea
»DNA and lipid molecular stratigraphic records of haptophyte succession in the Black Sea during the Holocene
»Diversity of Archaea and potential for crenarchaeotal nitrification of group 1.1a in the rivers Rhine and TĂȘt
»Holocene sources of fossil BHPs
»An unusual 17[α],21[β](H)-bacteriohopanetetrol in Holocene sediments from Ace Lake (Antarctica)
»Holocene sources of organic matter in Antarctic fjord
»Variations in spatial and temporal distribution of Archaea in the North Sea
»Archaeal nitrifiers in the Black Sea
»Pleistocene Mediterranean sapropel DNA
»Rapid sulfurisation of highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) alkenes in sulfidic Holocene sediments
»Aerobic and anaerobic methanotrophs in the Black Sea water column
»Fossil DNA in Cretaceous Black Shales: Myth or Reality?
»Sulfur and methane cycling during the Holocene in Ace Lake (Antarctica)
»Ancient algal DNA in the Black Sea
»Archaeal nitrification in the ocean
»Characterization of microbial communities found in the human vagina by analysis of terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms of 16S rRNA genes
»Biomarker and 16S rDNA evidence for anaerobic oxidation of methane and related carbonate precipitation in deep-sea mud volcanoes of the Sorokin Trough, Black Sea
»Temperature-dependent variation in the distribution of tetraether membrane lipids of marine Crenarchaeota: Implications for TEX86 paleothermometry
»Paleoecology of algae in Ace Lake
»Evolution of the methane cycle in Ace Lake (Antarctica) during the Holocene: Response of methanogens and methanotrophs to environmental change
»Ongoing modification of Mediterranean Pleistocene sapropels mediated by prokaryotes.
»Microbial communities in the chemocline of a hypersaline deep-sea basin (Urania basin, Mediterranean Sea)
»Functional exoenzymes as indicators of metabolically active bacteria in 124,000-year-old sapropel layers of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea
»Specific detection of different phylogenetic groups of chemocline bacteria based on PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA gene fragments
»Analysis of subfossil molecular remains of purple sulfur bacteria in a lake sediment
»Effects of nitrate availability and the presence of Glyceria maxima the composition and activity of the dissimilatory nitrate-reducing bacterial community
»Microbial activities and populations in upper sediment and sapropel layers

Coolen, M. J. L. and J. Overmann, Functional exoenzymes as indicators of metabolically active bacteria in 124,000-year-old sapropel layers of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 66(6), 2589-2598, 2000

Hydrolytic exoenzymes as indicators of metabolically active bacteria were investigated in four consecutive sapropel layers collected from bathyal sediments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. For comparison, the organic carbon-poor layers between the sapropels, sediment from the anoxic Urania basin, and sediments of intertidal mud flats of the German Wadden Sea were also analyzed. The sapropel layers contained up to 1.5. 10(8) bacterial cells cm(-3), whereas cell numbers in the intermediate layers were lower by a factor of 10. In sapropels, the determination of exoenzyme activity with fluorescently labeled substrate analogues was impaired by the strong adsorption of up to 97% of the enzymatically liberated fluorophores (4-methylumbelliferone [MUF] and 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin [MCA]) to the sediment particles. Because all established methods for the extraction of adsorbed fluorophores proved to be inadequate for sapropel sediments, we introduce a correction method which is based on the measurement of equilibrium adsorption isotherms for both compounds. Using this new approach, high activities of aminopeptidase and alkaline phosphatase were detected even in a 124,000-year-old sapropel layer, whereas the activity of beta-glucosidase was low in all layers. So far, it had been assumed that the organic matter which constitutes the sapropels is highly refractory. The high potential activities of bacterial exoenzymes indicate that bacteria in Mediterranean sapropels are metabolically active and utilize part of the subfossil kerogen. Since a high adsorption capacity was determined not only for the low-molecular-weight compounds MUF and MCA but also for DNA, the extraordinarily strong adsorption of structurally different substrates to the sapropel matrix appears to be the major reason for the long-term preservation of biodegradable carbon in this environment. Full text of article can be viewed here.

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