Microbial ecology concerning to the degradation of nucleic acid in the marine environment

Lecture by the member awarded the Okada Prize for 1980
  • Masachika Maeda


This article summarizes the author's current work on microbial degradation of nucleic acid. The aim of this work is to elucidate parts of the saprogenic process in the marine ecosystem through the study of the behavior of nucleic acid-hydrolyzing bacteria inhabiting seawater and sediments.

Considerably large population of nucleic acid-hydrolyzing bacteria was found to occur in seawater and sediments. The main genera of these microbes areVibrio spp. in coastal seas, andPseudomonas spp. in the oceanic waters. As a result of microbial attack, nucleic acid components are released into seawater. The properties of extracellular nuclease produced by a marineVibrio sp. are well adapted to the seawater environment; consequently this enzyme has high activity and stability in seawater. By determining nuclease activity in seawater and sediments, the intensities of nucleic acid-hydrolysisin situ were evaluated.

Distribution patterns of marine bacteria are also discussed in reference to the occurrence of phytoplankton in seawater.


Enzyme Phytoplankton Nucleic Acid Microbial Degradation Distribution Pattern 
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Copyright information

© the Oceanographical Society of Japan 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masachika Maeda
    • 1
  1. 1.Ocean Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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