Influence of Dissolved Organic Matter and Inorganic Nutrients on the Biofilm Bacterial Community on Artificial Substrates in a Northeastern Ohio, USA, Stream

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Canadian Journal of Microbiology

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dissolved organic matter, inorganic nutrients, biofilm bacteria community, artificial substrates, northeastern Ohio stream




Stream bacteria may be influenced by the composition and availability of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and inorganic nutrients, but knowledge about how individual phylogenetic groups in biofilm are affected is still limited. In this study, the influence of DOM and inorganic nutrients on stream biofilm bacteria was examined. Biofilms were developed on artificial substrates (unglazed ceramic tiles) for 21 days in a northeastern Ohio (USA) stream for five consecutive seasons. Then, the developed biofilm assemblages were exposed, in the laboratory, to DOM (glucose, leaf leachate, and algal exudates) and inorganic nutrients (nitrate, phosphate, and nitrate and phosphate in combination) amendments for 6 days. Bacterial numbers in the biofilms were generally higher in response to the DOM treatments than to the inorganic nutrient treatments. There were also apparent seasonal variations in the response patterns of the individual bacterial taxa to the nutrient treatments; an indication that limiting resources to bacteria in stream biofilms may change over time. Overall, in contrast to the other treatments, bacterial abundance was generally highest in response to the low-molecular-weight DOM (i.e., glucose) treatment. These results further suggest that there are interactions among the different bacterial groups in biofilms that are impacted by the associated nutrient dynamics among seasons in stream ecosystems.