Microbial Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 201–214 | Cite as

Microbial diversity of Minnesota peatlands

  • Richard T. Williams
  • Ronald L. Crawford


Microbial diversity, numbers, and metabolic activities in Minnesota peatlands were investigated using a variety of microbial enrichment and enumeration procedures together with radioisotopic measurements of microbial degradative processes. Minnesota peatlands were shown to contain large microbial populations of wide metabolic diversity. Direct counts of bacteria using epifluorescence microscopy indicated bacterial populations of about 108 ml−1 of peatland water, irrespective of depth. Radioisotopic most-probable-number (MPN) counts of heterotrophs able to mineralize14C-labeled substrates to14CO2 showed significant populations of glucose degraders (104–106 ml−1) as well as degraders of benzoate (102–103 ml−1), 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetate (102–105 ml−1), and sphagnum (103–107 ml−1) in the various peatlands examined. The MPNs of NO3 reducers varied from 103–106 ml−1, SO4 reducers from 102–103 ml−1, methanogenic bacteria from 103–106 ml−1, and methane oxidizers from 103–104 ml−1, depending on sampling site and depth. Eighty pure cultures of aerobic bacteria and fungi were isolated from Minnesota peats. Most of those cultures tested were able to grow on at least 20 organic compounds (carbohydrates, aromatic molecules, hydrocarbons, etc.) as sole sources of carbon and energy. One isolate, aBacillus, was able to fix atmospheric N2. Several of the isolates were able to mineralize14C-labeled lignin.


Lignin Microbial Population Bacterial Population Methane Oxidizer Microbial Diversity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard T. Williams
    • 1
  • Ronald L. Crawford
    • 1
  1. 1.Gray Freshwater Biological InstituteNavarreUSA

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