Interactions between bacteria and phytoplankton are crucial for the cycling of organic matter in marine environments. Around 50% of organic carbon taken up by marine bacteria is converted into inorganic carbon. The uptake of organic carbon by marine bacteria exuded from phytoplankton is a key factor in regulating the marine carbon cycle. One such molecule that is exuded by phytoplankton and then uptaken by marine bacteria is called glycolate - the anion of glycolic acid, a two caron molecule. Glycolate is exuded by phytoplankton during photorespiration and 10-50% of dissolved organic carbon in marine environments is comprised of glycolate. Additionally, production of glycolate is thought to be a way to regulate excess energy from sunlight. Concentrations of glycolate in marine enviroments fluctuate from night to day. Concentrations are up during the day, when photorespiration is taking place, while concentrations are down during the night while only bacterial uptake is taking place. Glycolate is a major source of energy that drives uptakr of other nutrients. Knowledge of its utilization can help to understand the dynamics between marine bacteria and phytoplankton.


Biology | Biotechnology | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology | Microbial Physiology


Jeffery Kimbrel

Lab site

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Funding Acknowledgement

The 2019 STEM Teacher and Researcher Program and this project have been made possible through support from Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Program under Grant #1836335 and 1340110, the California State University Office of the Chancellor, and California Polytechnic State University in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/564


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