Uptake of dissolved organics by marine bacteria as a function of fluid motion

Bruce Ernest Logan, D. L. Kirchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A mass transfer analysis predicts that fluid motion can increase the assimilation of dissolved organics by attached compared to free-living microorganisms under certain conditions. To test this we examined the effect of advective flow and fluid shear on the uptake of model compounds (leucine and glucose) by natural assemblages of heterotrophic bacteria, collected from Roosevelt Inlet, Delaware Bay (USA), in 1989. We found that [3H]leucine uptake by cells held in fluid moving at 20 to 70 m d-1 was eight times larger than uptake by cells at a velocity of 3 m d-1. This effect was only observed at low leucine concentrations (ca. 1 n M), when uptake was likely not saturated. When we added leucine at concentrations expected to saturate leucine uptake (ca. 11 n M), fluid motion past cells did not affect uptake. Fluid flow past bacteria did not increase [3H]glucose uptake, and laminar shear rates of 0.5 to 2.1 s-1 did not increase either glucose or leucine uptake by suspended bacteria. These results indicate that fluid motion increases bacterial uptake of certain lowmolecular-weight dissolved organics only when the microorganism exists in an advective flow field. As predicted from a mass transfer model, fluid shear rates in natural systems are too low to affect bacterial uptake of such compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science


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