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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 575, Issue 1, pp 95–107 | Cite as

Phosphatase activities of the aquatic moss Warnstorfia fluitans (Hedw.) Loeske from an acidic stream in North-East England

  • N. T. W. Ellwood
  • B. A. Whitton
Primary Research Paper

Abstract

A study was made of the aquatic environment, tissue nutrient composition and surface phosphatase activities of the aquatic moss Warnstorfia fluitans in Brandon Pithouse Stream, a small acidic stream in N-E England. The water, which originates from an underground spring, had been pH 2.6 for at least 30 years, but about 3.9 during the present study. The moss was by far the most abundant phototroph during all this period. Seasonal changes in aqueous nitrogen and phosphorus fractions were measured over a 2-year period near the source. Most of the filtrable N and P were at times organic, but the very high N:P ratio (even if organic N is excluded) suggests that only organic phosphate is likely to be important for the moss. There was a high peak in organic phosphate in late spring in both study years. Surface phosphomonoesterase (PMEase) and phosphodiesterase (PDEase) activities were highly correlated in the field and in axenic culture, though there were some differences in response to environmental factors. Axenic material showed higher PMEase and PDEase activities when grown with organic P than with inorganic P. Although the data suggest that internal P content is an important factor influencing phosphatase activities, PDEase activity was especially marked when the moss was grown with the diester, DNA, as P source, indicating that at least one of its surface phosphatases can also respond directly to the environment.

Keywords

Moss Warnstorfia Phosphatase Phosphomonoesterase Phosphodiesterase Acidic stream 

Abbreviations

bis-pNPP

bis-para-nitrophenyl phosphate

DMG

3-dimethylglutaric acid

FON

filtrable organic nitrogen

FOP

filtrable organic phosphorus

FRP

filtrable reactive phosphorus

HEPES

N-(2-hydroxyethyl)-piperazine-N′-2-ethanesulfonic acid

MU

methylumbelliferone

MUP

methylumbelliferyl phosphate

pNP

para-nitrophenol

pNPP

para-nitrophenyl phosphate

PMEase

phosphomonoesterase

PDEase

phosphodiesterase

Pi

inorganic phosphate-P

TIN

total inorganic nitrogen

TN

total nitrogen

TP

total phosphorus

Notes

Acknowledgements

N.T.W.E. was supported by a studentship from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The authors are also most grateful to H.J. Banks Ltd for other financial support and Mr C. Harle for access to the site.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Process EngineeringUniversity of NewcastleNewcastle-upon-TyneUK
  3. 3.Dipartimenti di Scienze GeologicheUniversita Roma TreRomaItaly

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