A microsensor study of the interaction between purple sulfur and green sulfur bacteria in experimental benthic gradients
Pringault; de Wit R; Kühl
Microbial Ecology 37(3): 173-184
ISSN/ISBN: 0095-3628 PMID: 10227875 DOI: 10.1007/s002489900141
> Abstract The interaction between the purple sulfur bacterium Thiocapsa roseopersicina and the green sulfur bacterium Prosthecochloris aestuarii was studied in a gradient chamber under a 16-hours light-8-hours dark regime. The effects of interaction were inferred by comparing the final outcome of a mixed culture experiment with those of the respective axenic cultures using the same inoculation densities and experimental conditions. Densities of bacteria were deduced from radiance microprofiles, and the chemical microenvironment was investigated with O2, H2S, and pH microelectrodes. P. aestuarii always formed a biofilm below the maximal oxygen penetration depth and its metabolism was strictly phototrophic. In contrast, T. roseopersicina formed a bilayer in both the mixed and the axenic culture. The top layer formed by the latter organism was exposed to oxygen, and chemotrophic sulfide oxidation took place during the dark periods, while the bottom layer grew phototrophically during the light periods only. In the mixed culture, the relative density of P. aestuarii was lower than in the axenic culture, which reflects the effects of the competition for sulfide. However, the relative density of T. roseopersicina was actually higher in the mixed culture than in the corresponding axenic culture, indicating a higher growth yield on sulfide in the mixed culture experiment. Several hypotheses are proposed to explain the effects of the interaction.