Microbial Ecology

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 307–322 | Cite as

Characterization of Bacterial Communities Associated with Organic Aggregates in a Large, Shallow, Eutrophic Freshwater Lake (Lake Taihu, China)

  • Xiangming Tang
  • Guang Gao
  • Boqiang Qin
  • Liping Zhu
  • Jianying Chao
  • Jianjun Wang
  • Guijun Yang
Microbiology of Aquatic Systems


Although organic-aggregate-associated bacteria play a pivotal role in microbial food webs and in the cycling of major elements, their community composition and diversity have not been extensively studied, especially in shallow freshwater systems. This study is among the first to explore intra-lake horizontal heterogeneity of organic-aggregate-associated bacterial community composition (OABC) in the large, shallow, and eutrophic Lake Taihu. During November 2006, samples were collected at four locations representing different trophic states and food web structures. Regional variability of OABC and diversity were studied by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis and comparative analysis of four large 16S ribosomal RNA clone libraries. Our results demonstrate that OABC were numerically dominated by members of the β-proteobacteria (19.2–38.6%), Bacteroidetes (3.6–20.0%), and α-proteobacteria (11.5–19.2%) groups. The dominance of the Bacteroidetes group was related to algae-based aggregates. Horizontal heterogeneity of OABC exists within habitats, suggesting that the trophic state of the water and the physicochemical properties of organic aggregates (OA) play a key role. Diverse bacterial communities found on OA were substantially different from free-living ones. Comparative statistical analyses of the habitats of OA-associated bacteria highlight the potential ecological importance of the exchange between OABC and the surrounding planktonic community. Lastly, we found at least 45% of sequences closely related to ones previously found in soils, sludge, sediments, and other habitats. This demonstrates that microorganisms from terrestrial and sediment habitats are an important component of OA.


Bacterial Community Clone Library Canonical Correspondence Analysis Dissolve Inorganic Nitrogen Bacteroidetes 
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.



We thank Dr. Qinglong Wu, Dr. Meijun Chen, and Dr. Peng Xing for providing valuable advice. Dr. Guangwei Zhu and Shurong Qian provided much appreciated field support on sample collections. Taihu Laboratory for Lake Ecosystem Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences is thanked for providing data on chemistry and phytoplankton. We also thank Guijuan Xie and Yi Zhang for experimental assistance. We especially thank Prof. Hans W. Paerl for his careful review and insightful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 40573062) and the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. kzcx2-yw-419). Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their thoughtful and constructive comments.

Supplementary material

248_2008_9482_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (637 kb)
Fig. S1 (PDF 637.42 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiangming Tang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guang Gao
    • 1
  • Boqiang Qin
    • 1
  • Liping Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jianying Chao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jianjun Wang
    • 1
  • Guijun Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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