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Appendix S1 Materials and methods: Details on Working conditions and precautions during extracellular DNA analyses, Total extracellular DNA determination, DNase activity, Testing for the absence of cell lysis, Real-time PCR analysis, Clone library and phylogenetic analyses, Decay rate of total extracellular DNA and Statistical analysis.

Table S1 The sequences used for the phylogenetic analysis, and the respective accession numbers

Table S2 Output of the one-way analysis of variance and the post-hoc comparison testing for the differences in total extracellular DNA concentrations and DNase activities in the surface sediments (i.e., 0-1 cm) of the four investigated sites (i.e., Stations 1, 2, 3 and 9)

Table S3 Concentrations of total DNA in surface sediments of Stations 1, 2, 3 and 9 and in the different layers of sediments collected at Station 9

Table S4 Output of the two-way analysis of variance and the post-hoc comparison testing for differences in total extracellular DNA concentrations and DNase activities in the different sediment layers (i.e., 0-1 cm, 4-5 cm, 9-10 cm) of the four investigated sites (i.e., Stations 1, 2, 3 and 9)

Table S5 Output of the one-way analysis of variance and the post-hoc comparison testing for differences in total extracellular DNA concentrations, DNase activities, 16S rDNA copy numbers and 18S rDNA copy numbers in the Unit I (i.e., 0-17 cm in depth) and sapropel (i.e., 31-53 cm in depth) layers of the sediments collected at Station 9

Table S6 Output of the PERMANOVA analysis testing for differences in total extracellular DNA concentrations, DNase activities, 16S rDNA copy numbers and 18S rDNA copy numbers between the Unit I (i.e., 0-17 cm in depth) and sapropel (i.e., 31-53 cm in depth) layers of the sediments collected at Station 9

Table S7 Concentrations of extracellular DNA (utilized for molecular analyses) in the different layers of sediments collected at Station 9

Fig. S1 Gel electrophoresis of the 16S rRNA gene amplified with primers 27f and 907r from samples utilized to test for the contamination of extracellular DNA with intracellular DNA due to cell lysis.

Fig. S2 Comparison between extracellular DNA concentrations (A) and 16S rDNA copy numbers (B) determined in fresh and frozen sediment samples.

Fig. S3 Saturation profile (phylotype accumulation curve) in the surface (0-1 cm) and sub-surface (7-8 cm) sediments collected at Station 9.

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