, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 358-364
Date: 12 May 2006

Bacterioplankton Growth and Nutrient Use Efficiencies Under Variable Organic Carbon and Inorganic Phosphorus Ratios

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We carried out enclosure experiments in an unproductive lake in northern Sweden and studied the effects of enrichment with different dissolved organic carbon (glucose)/inorganic phosphorous (DOC/Pi) ratios on bacterioplankton production (BP), growth efficiency (BGE), nutrient use efficiency (BNUE), growth rate, and specific respiration. We found considerable variation in BP, BGE, and BNUE along the tested DOC/Pi gradient. BGE varied between 0.87 and 0.24, with the highest values at low DOC/Pi ratios. BNUE varied between 40 and 9 g C g P−1, with high values at high DOC/Pi ratios. More DOC was thus allocated to growth when bacteria tended to be C-limited, and to respiration when bacteria were P-limited. Specific respiration was positively correlated with bacterial growth rate throughout the gradient. It is therefore possible that respiration was used to support growth in P-limited bacteria. The results indicated that BP can be limited by Pi when BNUE is at its maximum, by organic C when BGE is at its maximum, and by dual organic C and Pi limitation when BNUE and BGE have suboptimal values.