Accumulation of Dissolved DMSP by Marine Bacteria and its Degradation via Bacterivory

  • Gordon V. Wolfe


Several bacterial isolates enriched from seawater using complex media were able to accumulate dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) from media into cells over several hours without degrading it. Uptake only occurred in metabolically active cells, and was repressed in some strains by the presence of additional carbon sources. Accumulation was also more rapid in osmotically-stressed cells, suggesting DMSP is used as an osmotic solute. Uptake could be blocked by inhibitors of active transport systems (2,4-dinitrophenol, azide, arsenate) and of protein synthesis (chloramphenicol). Some structural analogs such as glycine betaine and S-methyl methionine also blocked DMSP uptake, suggesting that the availability of alternate organic osmolytes may influence DMSP uptake. Stresses such as freezing, heating, or osmotic down shock resulted in partial release of DMSP back to the medium. One strain which contained a DMSP-lyase was also able to accumulate DMSP, and DMS was only produced in the absence of alternate carbon sources. Bacteria containing DMSP were prepared as prey for bacterivorous ciliates and flagellates, to examine the fate of the DMSP during grazing. In all cases, predators metabolized the DMSP in bacteria. In some cases, DMS was produced, but it is not clear if this was due to the predators or to associated bacteria in the non-axenic grazer cultures. Bacterivores may influence DMSP cycling by either modulating populations of DMSP-metabolizing bacteria, or by metabolizing DMSP accumulated by bacterial prey.


Marine Bacterium Glycine Betaine Osmotic Solute Grazing Experiment Bacterial Uptake 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon V. Wolfe
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Oceanic and Atmospheric SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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