Molecular characterization of proteinaceous material in the Florida coastal Everglades
Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) is the least known component of the nitrogen cycle, in part as a result of the lack of adequate analytical methods for its molecular characterization. In this study proteinaceous material in DON, collected at six geomorphologically different sites in the Florida coastal Everglades, was characterized by amino acid analysis and protein gel electrophoresis. The amino acid composition of the samples suggests that the canal DON was more degraded and subject to higher microbial inputs than the mangrove marshwater and marine end-member stations. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) results supported this observation as distinctly different protein profiles were obtained for the canal waters compared to samples collected at other stations. These preliminary results highlight the potential of combining amino acid and intact protein analysis to fingerprint the sources of DON in different aquatic environments, and show SDS-PAGE as a potentially useful method to characterize DON.
Keywordsamino acids electrophoresis dissolved organic nitrogen microbial proteins
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