Viral Abundance and a High Proportion of Lysogens Suggest That Viruses Are Important Members of the Microbial Community in the Gulf of Trieste

Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Technology, University of Ljubljana, Vecna pot 111, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Microbial Ecology (Impact Factor: 2.97). 02/2004; 47(1):1-8. DOI: 10.1007/BF03036884
Source: PubMed


Epifluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were applied to study virioplankton community in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea). The total viral abundance was in a range between 2.5 x 10(9)/L and 2.9 x 10(10)/L and was positively correlated with trophic status of the environment. Viruslike particles were significantly correlated with bacterial abundance in all samples studied. Correlations with other physicochemical or biological parameters were not significant. The data suggest that, because of the substantial fraction of tailed viruses present (26%), bacteriophages are an important component of the virioplankton community in the Gulf of Trieste. The abundance of viruslike particles in the seawater changed at hour intervals in a range from 1.3 x 10(9)/L to 5.1 x 10(9)/L. A significant fraction (71%) of the bacterial isolates was inducible in vitro by mitomycin C, and a high occurrence (51%) of lysogenic isolates with more than one phage morphotype present in the lysate was detected. The presence of lysogenic bacteria in the seawater was confirmed in situ with a mitomycin C induction experiment on the natural bacterial population. Results suggest that virioplankton is an abundant component of the microbial community in the Gulf of Trieste.

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