Marine and lake snow is a continuous shower of mixed organic and inorganic aggregates falling from the upper water where primary production is substantial. These pelagic aggregates provide a niche for microbes that can exploit these physical structures and resources for growth, thus are local hot spots for microbial activity. However, processes underlying their formation remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of chemical signaling between two co-occurring bacteria that each make up more than 10% of the community in iron-rich lakes aggregates (iron snow). The filamentous iron-oxidizing Acidithrix strain showed increased rates of Fe(II) oxidation when incubated with cell-free supernatant of the heterotrophic iron-reducing Acidiphilium strain. Amendment of Acidithrix supernatant to motile cells of Acidiphilium triggered formation of cell aggregates displaying similar morphology to those of iron snow. Comparative metabolomics enabled the identification of the aggregation-inducing signal, 2-phenethylamine, which also induced faster growth of Acidiphilium. We propose a model that shows rapid iron snow formation, and ultimately energy transfer from the photic zone to deeper water layers, is controlled via a chemically mediated interplay.
PubMed ID: 28140394
Journal: ISME J
Citation: ISME J. 2017 May;11(5):1075-1086. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2016.186. Epub 2017 Jan 31.
Date Published: 1st Feb 2017
Created: 8th May 2017 at 09:55