Phosphorus Limitation of Heterotrophic Biofilms from the Fraser River, British Columbia, and the Effect of Pulp Mill Effluent
Experiments were conducted to determine the limiting nutrient and the effect of pulp mill effluent (PME) on heterotrophic biofilms in the Fraser River, a northern, temperate river in British Columbia, Canada. Biofilms were cultured by irrigating flow cells with Fraser River water alone (control), or river water amended with glucose; ammonium; phosphate; glucose, ammonium, and phosphate combined; or 3% PME. Phosphorus increased bacterial growth in the biofilm, which was rapidly transferred to protists, and reduced the amount of extracellular polymeric substances accumulated by biofilm bacteria. This work demonstrates phosphorus limitation of biofilm bacteria in a major river system and emphasizes the importance of nutrients in industrial discharges.