TitleMorphological and compositional shifts in an experimental bacterial community influenced by protists with contrasting feeding modes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsŠimek, K, Vrba, J, Pernthaler, J, Posch, T, Hartman, P, Nedoma, J, Psenner, R
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology

In a two-stage continuous-flow system, we studied the impacts of different protozoan feeding modes on the morphology and taxonomic structure of mixed bacterial consortia, which were utilizing organic carbon released by a pure culture of a Rhodomonas sp. grown on inorganic medium in the first stage of the system. Two of three second stages operated in parallel were inoculated by a bacterivorous flagellate, Bodo saltans, and an algivorous ciliate, Urotricha furcata, respectively. The third vessel served as a control. In two experiments, where algal and bacterial populations grew at rates and densities typical for eutrophic waters, we compared community changes of bacteria, algae, and protozoa under quasi-steady-state conditions and during the transient stage after the protozoan inoculation. In situ hybridization with fluorescent oligonucleotide probes and cultivation-based approaches were used to tentatively analyze the bacterial community composition, Initially the cell size distribution and community structure of all cultivation vessels showed similar patterns, with a dominance of 1- to 2.5-mu m-long rods from the beta subdivision of the phylum Proteobacteria (beta-Proteobacteria). Inoculation ,vith the ciliate increased bacterial growth in this substrate-controlled variant, seemingly via a recycling of nutrients and substrate released by grazing on algae, but without any detectable effect on the composition of bacterial assemblage. In contrast, an inoculation with the bacterivore, B. saltans, resulted in a decreased proportion of the beta-Proteobacteria. One part of the assemblage (