Production of Dimethylsulfide After Deposition of Increasing Amounts of Emiliania Huxleyi onto Sediments in Marine Microcosms

  • Ronald Osinga
  • Johanna J. Minnaard
  • Wilma E. Lewis
  • Fleur C. van Duyl


Rapid release of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and subsequent production of dimethylsulfide (DMS) may occur after deposition of DMSP-containing algae onto sediments, potentially causing a temporal accumulation of DMS. This relation between sedimentation and DMS formation was studied by supplying increasing amounts of the marine microalga Emiliania huxleyi to anoxic marine sediment microcosms, resulting in initial DMSP concentrations of 950 nM, 1600 nM and 5300 nM. In all experiments, rapid formation of DMS was observed, the highest concentrations were reached after 2 to 5 days. The DMS concentrations remained high for more than 5 days, suggesting a slow response of anaerobic DMS consuming bacteria. In a control experiment, in which the algae were kept in suspension, the release of DMS was an order of magnitude lower, and more gradual. It was therefore concluded that sedimentation of DMSP containing algae to anoxic sediments can lead to emission of DMS to the water column. The ratio between DMS produced and DMSP added was highest at the highest algal density. This may indicate an increasing importance of the cleavage of DMSP under increasing substrate concentrations. Hence, benthic DMS formation after sedimentation of algae is most likely to occur in eutrophic, coastal areas, where large amounts of algae are deposited onto very reduced sediments.


Emiliania Huxleyi Increase Substrate Concentration DMSP Concentration Abiotic Loss Silicon Stopper 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Canfield, D.E., B.B. Jørgensen, H. Fossing, R. Glud, J. Gundersen, N.B. Ramsing, B. Thamdrup, J.W. Hansen, L.P. Nielsen and P.O.J. Hall. 1993. Pathways of organic carbon oxidation in three continental margin sediments. Mar. Geol. 113: 27–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dacey, J.W.H. andN.V. Blough. 1987. Hydroxide decomposition of dimethylsulfoniopropionate to form dimethylsulfide. Geophys. Res. Lett. 14: 1246–1249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    De Souza, M.P. and D.C. Yoch. 1995. Purification and characterization of dimethylsulfoniopropionate lyase from an Alcaligenes-like dimethyl sulfide-producing marine isolate. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61: 21–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Graf, G., R. Schultz, R. Peinert and L.-A. Meyer-Reil. 1983. Benthic response to sedimentation events during autumn to spring at a shallow-water station in the Western Kiel Bight. I. Analysis of processes on a community level. Mar. Biol. 77: 235–246.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gröne, T. 1995. Biological production and consumption of dimethylsulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in the marine epipelagic zone: a review. J. Mar. Res. 6: 191–209.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Guillard, R.R:L. 1975. Culture of phytoplankton for feeding marine invertebrates. In: W.L. Smith, M.H. Chanley (Eds.), Culture of marine invertebrate animals. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 26–60.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hansen, L.S. and T.H. Blackburn. 1992. Effects of algal bloom deposition on sediment respiration and fluxes. Mar. Biol. 112: 147–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Keller, M.D., W.K. Bellows and R.R.L. Guillard. 1989. Dimethylsulfide production in marine phytoplankton. In: E.S. Saltzmann, W.J. Cooper (Eds.), Biogenic sulfur in the environment. ACS Symp. Ser. 393, Washington DC, pp. 167–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kiene, R.P. 1992. Dynamics of dimethylsulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate in oceanic seawater samples. Mar. Chem. 37:29–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kiene, R.P. and T.S. Bates. 1990. Biological removal of dimethylsulfide from sea water. Nature 345: 702–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kiene, R.P. and D.C. Capone. 1988. Microbial transformations of methylated sulfur compounds in anoxic salt marsh sediments. FEMS Microb. Ecol. 15: 275–291.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kiene, R.P. and S.K. Service. 1991. Decomposition of dissolved DMSP and DMS in estuarine waters: dependence on temperature and substrate concentration. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 76: 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kiene, R.P. and B.F. Taylor. 1988. Demethylation of dimethylsulfoniopropionate and production of thiols in anoxic marine sediments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 54: 2208–2212.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kwint, R.L.J, and K.J.M. Kramer. 1995. DMS production by plankton communities. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 121: 227–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kwint, R.L.J, and K.J.M. Kramer. 1995. The annual cycle of the production and fate of DMS(P) in a marine coastal system. Submitted to Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lindqvist, F. 1989. Sulfur-specific detection in air by photoionization in a multiple detector gas chroma¬tographic system. J. High Res. Chrom. 12: 628–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Matrai, P.A. and M.D. Keller. 1993. Dimethylsulfide in a large scale coccolithophore bloom in the Gulf of Maine. Cont. Shelf Res. 13: 831–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nedwell, D.B., M.T. Shabbeer and R.M. Harrison. 1994. Dimethyl sulfide in North Sea waters and sediments. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sei. 39: 209–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Osinga, R., R.L.J. Kwint, W.E. Lewis, G.W. Kraay, J.D. Lont, H.J. Lindeboom and F.C. van Duyl. 1995. Production and fate of dimethylsulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate in pelagic mesocosms: the role of sedimentation. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. In Press.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Quist, P., R.L.J. Kwint, T.A. Hansen, L. Dijkhuizen and K.J.M. Kramer. 1995. Turnover of dimethylsulfoniopropionate and dimethylsulfide in the marine environment - a mesocosm experiment. Submitted to Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stefels, J. and W.H.M. van Boekel. 1993. Production of DMS from dissolved DMSP in axenic cultures of the marine phytoplankton species Phaeocystis sp. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 97: 11–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Steinke, M., C. Daniel and G.O. Kirst. 1996. DMSP lyase in marine macro- and microalgae: interspecific differences in cleavage activity. This volume.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Taylor, B.F. 1993. Bacterial transformations of organic sulfur compounds in marine environments. In: R.S. Oremland (Ed.). Biogeochemistry of global change. (Radiatively active trace gases). Chapman & Hall, New York, pp. 745–781.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Taylor, B.F. and D.C. Gilchrist. 1991. New routes for aerobic biodegradation of dimethylsulfoniopropionate. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 57: 3581–3584.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Van der Maarel, M.J.E.C. and T.A. Hansen. 1996. Anaerobic microorganisms involved in the degradation of DMS(P). This volume.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Visscher, P.T., R.P. Kiene and B.F. Taylor. 1994. Demethylation and cleavage of dimethylsulfoniopropionate in marine intertidal sediments. FEMS Microb. Ecol. 14: 179–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wolfe, G.V. and R.P. Kiene. 1993. Effects of methylated, organic, and inorganic substrates on microbial consumption of dimethyl sulfide in estuarine waters. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 59: 2723–2726.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Osinga
    • 1
  • Johanna J. Minnaard
    • 1
  • Wilma E. Lewis
    • 1
  • Fleur C. van Duyl
    • 1
  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen Burg (Texel)The Netherlands

Personalised recommendations