BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Microbes Work Together to Process Dissolved Organic Carbon
Published: September 13, 2010
Posted: October 01, 2010

Marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) contains as much carbon as the Earth’s atmosphere and represents a critical component of the global carbon cycle. While we know that microbial processes and activities drive most of Earth’s biogeochemical cycles, those associated with marine DOM cycling are poorly understood. DOE scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed the responses of microbial communities to high-molecular weight DOM. Following the addition of DOM both cell numbers and a variety of gene transcripts from different microbial groups doubled over a 27 hour period. Gene transcripts that were increased included those associated with sensor systems, phosphate and nitrogen processing, chemotaxis, and motility. The data also indicated that different microbial species played different roles in the partitioning of DOM. These findings suggest that coordinated, cooperative activities of a variety of bacterial “specialists” may be critical in the cycling of marine DOM, emphasizing the importance of microbial community dynamics in the global carbon cycle. The research was led by Edward F. DeLong and has just been published on-line in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Reference: McCarren, J, Becker, J.W., Repeta, D.J., Shia, Y., Young, C.R., Malmstrom, R.R., Chisholm, S.W. and DeLong, E.F. “Microbial community transcriptomes reveal microbes and metabolic pathways associated with dissolved organic matter turnover in the sea” PNAS (2010) www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1010732107.

Contact: Dan Drell, SC-23.2, (301) 903-4742
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Jan 11, 2022
No Honor Among Copper Thieves
Findings provide a novel means to manipulate methanotrophs for a variety of environmental and in [more...]

Dec 06, 2021
New Genome Editing Tools Can Edit Within Microbial Communities
Two new technologies allow scientists to edit specific species and genes within complex laborato [more...]

Oct 27, 2021
Fungal Recyclers: Fungi Reuse Fire-Altered Organic Matter
Degrading pyrogenic (fire-affected) organic matter is an important ecosystem function of fungi i [more...]

Oct 19, 2021
Microbes Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Climate Change
Scientists identify key features in microbes that predict how warming affects carbon dioxide emi [more...]

Aug 25, 2021
Assessing the Production Cost and Carbon Footprint of a Promising Aviation Biofuel
Biomass-derived DMCO has the potential to serve as a low-carbon, high-performance jet fuel blend [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)