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Urea decomposition and its significance as a nitrogen source of phytoplankton in euphotic zone of osaka bay japan


Urea decomposition and its significance as a nitrogen source of phytoplankton in euphotic zone of osaka bay japan



Memoirs of Osaka Kyoiku University Series III Natural Science and Applied Science 38(1): 47-61



The decomposition rate of urea was measured under saturating levels of light intensity and dark condition for the samples taken from the euphotic zone in different trophic areas of Osaka Bay. The decomposition rate of urea (as sum of incorporation of urea carbon into particulate matter and CO2 liberation into water from urea) was 4.5 to 462 .mu.g urea C .cntdot.m-3.cntdot.hr.-1 in light condition, and 3.5 to 167 .mu.g urea C.cntdot.m-3.cntdot.hr.-1 in dark condition. The greater part of urea decomposition took place during the phase of CO2 liberation rate into the water from urea. Fourteen to 53% of the urea decomposition was incorporated into the particulate phase in the light, but this was a negligible value in the dark. The composition rate of urea, the carbon incorporation rate, and the CO2 liberation rate decreased with depth. A much higher decomposition rate was observed in the eutrophic area. A close linear relation with high correlation coefficient between the urea decomposition rate and chlorophyll-a amount or photosynthetic carbon assimilation rate was observed. The present study indicates that urea in waters decomposes by phytoplankton rather than bacteria and has an appreciable role as the nitrogen source for phytoplankton in theeuphotic zone of Osaka Bay.

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