Luxury uptake of aerosol iron by Trichodesmium in the western tropical North Atlantic



[1] Dust transported from North Africa carries micronutrient iron (Fe) to the western tropical North Atlantic (WTNA) which may significantly influence the metabolism of the N2-fixing cyanobacteria, Trichodesmium. For the first time, we conducted shipboard incubation experiments using freshly collected aerosol, seawater, and Trichodesmium colonies. Trichodesmium assimilated significant amount of aerosol Fe up to 14 times higher than the control. The uptake amount increased proportionally to the P: Fe ratio that Trichodesmium initially contained and to the aerosol Fe added and leached to the incubation solution. Trichodesmium assimilated more aerosol Fe than needed for its maximum growth (0.14 d−1) demonstrating a high capacity of luxury uptake of Fe from the dust.