Kinetics of bacterial processes in natural aquatic systems based on biomass as determined by high-resolution flow cytometry.

Research paper by D K DK Button, B R BR Robertson

Indexed on: 01 Sep '89Published on: 01 Sep '89Published in: Cytometry


The two primary kinetic constants for describing the concentration dependency of nutrient uptake by microorganisms are shown to be maximal rate of substrate uptake and, rather than the Michaelis constant for transport, specific affinity. Of the two, the specific affinity is more important for describing natural aquatic microbial processes because it can be used independently at small substrate concentrations. Flow cytometry was used to evaluate specific affinities in natural populations of aquatic bacteria because it gives a convenient measure of biomass, which is an essential measurement in the specific-affinity approach to microbial kinetics. Total biomass, biomass in various filter fractions, and the specific affinity of the bacteria in each fraction were determined in samples from a near-arctic lake. The partial growth rate of the pelagic bacteria from the 25 micrograms/liter of dissolved amino acids present (growth rate from the amino acid fraction alone) was determined to be 0.78 per day. By measuring activity in screened and whole-system populations, the biomass of the bacteria associated with particles was computed to be 427 micrograms/liter.