Production of chromophoric dissolved organic matter by marine phytoplankton

  • Romera-Castillo C
  • Sarmento H
  • Anton Alvarez-Salgado X
 et al. 
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Incubation experiments with axenic cultures of four common phytoplankton
species of the genera Chaetoceros, Skeletonema, Prorocentrum, and
Micromonas were performed to test for the production of fluorescent
dissolved organic matter (FDOM) by marine phytoplankton. Our results
prove that the four species exuded both fluorescent protein-like and
marine humic-like materials in variable amounts, with more production by
the diatoms Chaetoceros sp. and Skeletonema costatum and less by
Prorocentrum minimum. Whereas the exudation of protein-like substances
by healthy phytoplankton cells has been recognized, the in situ
production of marine humic-like substances is still a matter of debate.
Using axenic cultures, we demonstrate unequivocally that phytoplankton
can directly contribute to the autochthonous production of colored
humic-like substances in the ocean. Extrapolation of these findings to
the field indicates that about 20% of the marine humic-like substances
produced in the highly productive coastal upwelling system of the Ria de
Vigo could originate from growing phytoplankton. Therefore, the
exudation of FDOM by marine phytoplankton should be considered in future
studies of the dynamics of colored DOM in marine systems.

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  • Cristina Romera-Castillo

  • Hugo Sarmento

  • Xose Anton Alvarez-Salgado

  • Josep M Gasol

  • Celia Marrase

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