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Inhibition of diatom photosynthesis by germanic acid: Separation of diatom productivity from total marine primary productivity

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Germanic acid was shown to inhibit photosynthetic 14CO2 uptake in marine diatoms. Inhibition was not complete even at concentrations of 20 mg Ge/1 nor in cultures incubated for extended periods of time (up to 24 h). The decrease in photosynthesis due to Ge(OH)4 was independent of the stage of growth of the diatom culture. At 0.5 and 1.0 mg Ge/1, the degree of inhibition was dependent on the concentration of Si(OH)4 in the medium. At 5 and 10 mg Ge/1, inhibition was not affected by Si(OH)4 concentrations as high as those found in the sea-120 μg-at Si/1. The effect of Ge(OH)4 on photosynthesis is specific for diatoms; other marine phytoplankton were not inhibited. In mixed cultures of diatoms and marine flagellates, the reduction in 14CO2 fixation upon addition of Ge(OH)4 was used to calculated the proportion of diatom photosynthesis to total photosynthesis, and calculated proportions agreed well with actual proportions. Inhibition by Ge(OH)4 was also used to estimate the percent of diatom photosynthesis in a natural marine community, and this was compared with the diatom portion of the crop. Diatom photosynthesis was higher than one might expect from crop figures, although both diatom photosynthesis and diatom numbers in the crop were low.

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Communicated by J. Bunt, Miami

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Thomas, W.H., Dodson, A.N. Inhibition of diatom photosynthesis by germanic acid: Separation of diatom productivity from total marine primary productivity. Mar. Biol. 27, 11–19 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00394755

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  • Phytoplankton
  • Photosynthesis
  • 14CO2 Uptake
  • Marine Phytoplankton
  • Marine Diatom