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Journal Article

Quantifying potential N turnover rates in hypersaline microbial mats by15N tracer techniques


Coban,  Oksana
External Organizations;


Rasigraf,  Olivia
3.7 Geomicrobiology, 3.0 Geochemistry, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

de Jong,  Anniek E. E.
External Organizations;

Spott,  Oliver
External Organizations;

Bebout,  Brad M.
External Organizations;

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Coban, O., Rasigraf, O., de Jong, A. E. E., Spott, O., Bebout, B. M. (2021 online): Quantifying potential N turnover rates in hypersaline microbial mats by15N tracer techniques. - Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 87, 8.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5006084
Microbial mats, due to stratification of the redox zones, have a potential to include a complete N cycle, however an attempt to evaluate a complete N cycle in these ecosystems has not been yet made. In this study, occurrence and rates of major N cycle processes were evaluated in intact microbial mats from Elkhorn Slough, Monterey Bay, CA, USA, and Baja California Sur, Mexico under oxic and anoxic conditions using 15N-labeling techniques. All of the major N transformation pathways, with the exception of anammox, were detected in both microbial mats. Nitrification rates were found to be low at both sites for both seasons investigated. The highest rates of ammonium assimilation were measured in Elkhorn Slough mats in April and corresponded to high in situ ammonium concentration in the overlying water. Baja mats featured higher ammonification than ammonium assimilation rates and this, along with their higher affinity for nitrate compared to ammonium and low dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium rates, characterized their differences from Elkhorn Slough mats. Nitrogen fixation rates in Elkhorn Slough microbial mats were found to be low implying that other processes such as recycling and assimilation from water are main sources of N for these mats at the times sampled. Denitrification in all of the mats was incomplete with nitrous oxide as end product and not dinitrogen. Our findings highlight N cycling features not previously quantified in microbial mats and indicate a need of further investigations in these microbial ecosystems.