Marine Bacteria Share Carbon Assimilation Duties

Taxonomic differences in bacterioplankton amino acid uptake

Catherine Offord
Catherine Offord

Catherine is a senior editor at The Scientist.

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Jul 1, 2016

MEAL TIME: Ocean-dwelling microbes chow down on marine carbon sources at rates that are taxon dependent (false-color micrograph).EDWARD DELONG, DAVID KARL, NANCY HULBIRT

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MICROBIOLOGY

The paper
S. Bryson et al., “Proteomic stable isotope probing reveals taxonomically distinct patterns in amino acid assimilation by coastal marine bacterioplankton,” mSystems, doi:10.1128/mSystems.00027-15, 2016.

The fixers
Marine systems fix about 50 gigatons of carbon each year, of which about half is processed by heterotrophic microbial communities. But relatively little is known about the role of individual taxa in the assimilation and metabolism of carbon compounds. So Samuel Bryson, a graduate student in Ryan Mueller’s lab at Oregon State University, set out to test a method that could improve taxon-specific measurements of carbon uptake and usage.

Proteomic probe
Bryson and his colleagues added 13C-labeled amino acids  to seawater samples of bacterioplankton collected at two different locations off the western coast...

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