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Osmotrophy of dissolved organic carbon by coccolithophores in darkness

Godrijan, Jelena; Drapeau, David; Balch, William M. (2021) Osmotrophy of dissolved organic carbon by coccolithophores in darkness. New Phytologist . ISSN 0028-646X

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• The evolutionary and ecological story of coccolithophores poses questions about their heterotrophy, surviving darkness after the end-Cretaceous asteroid impact as well as survival in the deep ocean twilight zone. Uptake of dissolved organic carbon might be an alternative nutritional strategy for supply of energy and carbon molecules. • Using long-term batch culture experiments, we examined coccolithophore growth and maintenance on organic compounds in darkness. Radiolabeled experiments were performed to study the uptake kinetics. Pulse-chase experiments were used to examine the uptake into unassimilated, exchangeable pools versus assimilated, non-exchangeable pools. • We found that coccolithophores were able to survive and maintain their metabolism for up to 30 days in darkness, accomplishing about one cell division. The concentration dependence for uptake was similar to the concentration dependence for growth in Cruciplacolithus neochelis, suggesting that it was taking up carbon compounds and immediately incorporating them into biomass. We recorded net incorporation of radioactivity into the particulate inorganic fraction. • We conclude that osmotrophy provides nutritional flexibility and supports long-term survival in light levels well below threshold for photosynthesis. The incorporation of dissolved organic matter into particulate inorganic carbon, raises fundamental questions about the role of the alkalinity pump and the alkalinity balance in the sea.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: acetate ; Cruciplacolithus ; dissolved organic carbon (DOC) ; glycerol ; mannitol ; osmotrophy ; particulate inorganiccarbon (PIC) ; Pleurochrysis
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology > Botany
NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology > Microbiology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences > Marine Science
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Project titleProject leaderProject codeProject type
Coccolithophore mixotrophyWilliam M. Balch1635748NSF-OCE
Depositing User: Jelena Godrijan
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 08:10
DOI: 10.1111/nph.17819

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