, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 205-212

Nitrogen-fixation associated with the marine blue-green alga, Trichodesmium, as measured by the acetylene-reduction technique

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The marine blue-green alga, Trichodesmium, was collected from the Gulf Stream, near Miami, and occurred in two distinct colonial forms both of which reduced acetylene to ethylene. Trichodesmium was more abundant during the summer but its acetylene-reducing potential showed no obvious seasonal variation. Illuminated Trichodesmium reduced acetylene to ethylene equally well either anaerobically or aerobically (20% oxygen). Acetylene-reduction in the dark, however, was oxygen-dependent and was usually 25% or less of the activity recorded in the light. 0.3–1.0 nmoles of ethylene were produced per minute per mg of protein, by illuminated cultures, and these values compare favorably with those recorded for other nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae. However, the possibility that bacteria contributed to the acetylene-reducing activity associated with Trichodesmium was not completely eliminated.

Contribution No. 1578 from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 10 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, U.S.A.