Natural populations of marine heterotrophic microorganisms in a variety of water masses were size fractionated with Nuclepore filters in a range of pore diameters of 0.1-8 pm. About 90% of the heterotrophic assimilation of 3H-labeled substrates (D-glucose, acetate, and L-serine) was by organisms that pass through l-pm filters; essentially all heterotrophic activity was by organisms passing through 5-pm filters. The l-pm filterable fraction con- tained bacteria and, in some seawater samples, microflagellates. About 90% of the micro- bial heterotrophic activity in the seawater samples examined was due to those microorgan- isms (presumably bacteria) that arc unattached to larger particulate material.
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