The Role of Oxygenic Phototrophic Microorganisms in Production and Conversion of Dimethylsulfoniopropioniate and Dimethylsulfide in Microbial Mats

  • S. A. van Bergeijk
  • L. J. Stal


The dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) content of several strains of benthic marine cyanobacteria and diatoms was determined. We were unable to detect this compound in any of the cyanobacterial strains even though some of these had been isolated from cyanobacteria-dominated (sub)tidal sediments in which we had measured considerable amounts of DMSP. The diatom Cylindrotheca closterium contained an average concentration of about 4 mmoles DMSP (g Chla)-1 and a strain of Navicula sp. contained approximately 30 jumoles DMSP (g Chla)-1. DMSP production by diatoms seems to be highly species-specific but it provides a potential source for the DMSP encountered in the sediment. The role of cyanobacteria in the transformation of DMSP and DMS was limited. The strains that were tested were not able to oxidize DMS during anoxygenic photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria are probably not able to cleave DMSP enzymatically to DMS and acrylate, however the rise in pH they cause as a result of the photosynthetic C02 fixation may lead to the enhanced chemical hydrolysis of DMSP. A strain of the cyanobacterium Phormidium sp. reduced DMSO to DMS during fermentation under anoxic dark conditions. This is another potential source of DMS in coastal marine sediments.


Dimethyl Sulfide Coastal Marine Sediment DMSP Concentration Anoxygenic Photosynthesis Colorless Sulfur Bacterium 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. van Bergeijk
    • 1
  • L. J. Stal
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for MicrobiologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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