How Do Cells Express Nutrient Limitation at the Molecular Level?
Microbial growth in both marine and freshwater environments is frequently restricted by nutrient availability. The process of nutrient limitation is not a sudden transition from an actively growing to a non-growing state, but rather involves sequential changes that first enable the organism to utilize appropriate reserves, scavenge trace amounts of the limiting nutrient, or to utilize alternative less preferred sources of the nutrient and then to undergo the various physiological and ultrastructural changes that allow prolonged survival in the non-growing state. The nature of the limiting nutrient will vary in response to a range of factors (geographical, seasonal, anthropogenic etc), but will most commonly be for one of the quantitatively major nutrients, namely carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur. Though there is evidence that trace elements such as iron and zinc may limit productivity in some environments. Furthermore, in the case of photoautotrophic micro-organisms it is reasonable to consider light as a nutrient.
KeywordsZinc Phosphorus Chlorophyll Cobalt Nitrite
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