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Title: Carbon content, carbon fixation yield and dissolved organic carbon release from diverse marine nitrifiers

Nitrifying microorganisms, including ammonia‐oxidizing archaea, ammonia‐oxidizing bacteria, and nitrite‐oxidizing bacteria, are the most abundant chemoautotrophs in the ocean and play an important role in the global carbon cycle by fixing dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) into biomass. The release of organic compounds by these microbes is not well quantified, but may represent an as‐yet unaccounted source of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) available to marine food webs. Here, we provide measurements of cellular carbon and nitrogen quotas, DIC fixation yields and DOC release of 10 phylogenetically diverse marine nitrifiers. All investigated strains released DOC during growth, representing on average 5–15% of the fixed DIC. Changes in substrate concentration and temperature did not affect the proportion of fixed DIC released as DOC, but release rates varied between closely related species. Our results also indicate previous studies may have underestimated DIC fixation yields of marine nitrite oxidizers due to partial decoupling of nitrite oxidation from CO2fixation, and due to lower observed yields in artificial compared to natural seawater medium. The results of this study provide critical values for biogeochemical models of the global carbon cycle, and help to further constrain the implications of nitrification‐fueled chemoautotrophy for marine food‐web functioning and the biological sequestration of carbon in the ocean.

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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Limnology and Oceanography
Medium: X Size: p. 84-96
p. 84-96
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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