Marine bacterioplankton production of polysaccharidic and proteinaceous particles under different nutrient regimes


  • Editor: Riks Laanbroek

Correspondence: Tomislav Radić, Center for Marine Research, ‘Ruđer Bošković’ Institute, G. Paliage 5, 52 210 Rovinj, Croatia. Tel.: +385 52 804 761; fax: +385 52 814 396; e-mail:


The influence of inorganic nutrient concentrations on the ability of bacterioplankton to produce and degrade polysaccharidic transparent exopolymer particles (TEPs) and proteinaceous Coomassie-stained particles (CSPs) was investigated in an 11-day experiment. The dynamics of these particles were followed in prefiltered (1 μm) northern Adriatic seawater enclosures enriched either with 1 μM orthophosphate (main limiting nutrient in this area), 10 μM ammonium or both orthophosphate and ammonium. These enclosures were referenced to a nonenriched control. A high potential for bacterial TEP and CSP production was observed (104–105 L−1 for particles larger than 4 μm). In conditions of high orthophosphate concentration (either orthophosphate enriched or both orthophosphate and ammonium enriched), lower abundances and surface areas of CSPs were obtained, whereas TEP dynamics were more affected by unbalanced enrichments where only orthophosphate or ammonium was added. The impact of unbalanced nutrient ratios on TEPs was indicated by their higher abundance but low capacity for Alcian blue absorption, implying a change in their structure. Inorganic nutrient availability was thus proven to affect the bacterial potential for producing and degrading bacterially derived TEPs and CSPs.