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The relationship between fatty acid distributions and bacterial respiratory types in contemporary marine sediments

By Ronald John Parkes and J. Taylor


Bacterial communities of different respiratory types were isolated from a marine sediment in a multiple chemostat system in an attempt to obtain bacterial cultures representative of the sediment. The fatty acid distribution of a mixed culture of sulphate-reducing bacteria isolated from this system showed a good correlation with the lipid distribution of the zone of maximum sulphate-reduction activity within the sediment. Both distributions had significant concentrations of C14 : 0, iso and anteiso C15 : 0, C16 : 0, C16 : 1ω7 and C18 : 1ω7. This was in contrast to the lipid profile of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans obtained by batch enrichment, which was dominated by iso C17 : 1ω7 fatty acids and correlated poorly with the sediment. The bacterial community cultured from the sediment was further differentiated according to respiratory types (aerobic, facultative aerobic and facultative anaerobic) by growth in a chemostat under defined conditions. The fatty acid distributions of these communities were sufficiently different to enable the various respiratory types to be recognized by their particular fatty acid composition. Cyclopropyl fatty acids (▿17 and ▿19) were present in significant levels only in the aerobic bacteria, while the facultative aerobes had significantly higher C18 : 1ω7 than the other cultures and the facultative anaerobic community was the only culture to have significant amounts of C12 : 0. The fatty acid distribution of Loch Eil sediment over the range C12-19 seemed to be predominantly of bacterial origin and were relatively abundant to a depth of 6 cm. The concentration of cyclopropyl fatty acids was highest in the oxidized surface sediments and decreased with depth as anaerobic conditions began to dominate, indicating that these fatty acids may only be indicative of aerobic sedimentary bacteria. In contrast to the fatty acids characteristic of bacteria, those fatty acids in the range C20-30 attributed to a terrestrial input were found in relatively constant concentrations over the whole 0–12 cm depth profile

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 1983
DOI identifier: 10.1016/0272-7714(83)90139-7
OAI identifier: oai:
Provided by: ORCA
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