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Protozoan stimulation of anaerobic microbial activity: enhancement of the rate of terminal decomposition of organic matter

Biagini, GA, Finlay, BJ and Lloyd, D 1998. Protozoan stimulation of anaerobic microbial activity: enhancement of the rate of terminal decomposition of organic matter. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 27 (1) , 1--8. 10.1111/j.1574-6941.1998.tb00520.x

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Abstract

Anaerobic microcosms were established in which plant material was degraded by the co-operative interaction of various bacterial metabolic types, and the production of CH4 and sulfide was monitored. The introduction of the anaerobic ciliate Metopus palaeformis resulted in a reduction of bacterial abundance but an increase in the rate of CH4 and sulfide production. The enhanced bacterial activity (resulting in an increased rate of bacterial CH4 production) was positively correlated with the number of ciliates present. The endosymbiotic methanogens of M. palaeformis did not contribute significantly to the observed increase in CH4 production. It was concluded that protozoan excretions such as organic acids (acetate, propionate) were most likely responsible. Protozoa have previously been shown to enhance bacterial activity in aerobic systems, but this is the first report of the phenomenon in anaerobic systems. Bacterial stimulation by protozoan grazing signifies the importance of anaerobic protozoa in the natural environment, not just in controlling bacterial numbers but also in vitalising ecosystem function

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0168-6496
Date of Acceptance: 18 May 1998
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2020 11:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/127710

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