Microbial Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 335–344 | Cite as

Benthic bacterial biomass supported by streamwater dissolved organic matter

  • Thomas L. Bott
  • Louis A. Kaplan
  • Frank T. Kuserk


Bacterial biomass in surface sediments of a headwater stream was measured as a function of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux and temperature. Bacterial biomass was estimated using epifluorescence microscopic counts (EMC) and ATP determinations during exposure to streamwater containing 1,788μg DOC/liter and after transfer to groundwater containing 693μg DOC/liter. Numbers of bacteria and ATP concentrations averaged 1.36×109 cells and 1,064 ng per gram dry sediment, respectively, under initial DOC exposure. After transfer to low DOC water, biomass estimates dropped by 53 and 55% from EMC and ATP, respectively. The decline to a new steady state occurred within 4 days from ATP assays and within 11 days from EMC measures. A 4°C difference during these exposures had little effect on generation times. The experiment indicated that 27.59 mg/hour of natural DOC supported a steady state bacterial biomass of approximately 10μg C/g dry weight of sediment (from EMC determinations). Steady state bacterial biomass estimates on sediments that were previously muffled to remove organic matter were approximately 20-fold lower. The ratio of GTP∶ATP indicated differences in physiological condition or community composition between natural and muffled sediments.


Biomass Organic Matter Community Composition Surface Sediment Generation Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas L. Bott
    • 1
  • Louis A. Kaplan
    • 1
  • Frank T. Kuserk
    • 2
  1. 1.Stroud Water Research CenterAcademy of Natural SciencesAvondaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMoravian CollegeBethlehemUSA

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