Bacterial foraging facilitates aggregation of Chlamydomonas microsphaera in an organic carbon source-limited aquatic environment

Ranran Zhao, Guowei Chen, Li Liu, Wei Zhang, Yifei Sun, Baoguo Li, Gang Wang

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13 Citations (SciVal)


Microalgal aggregation is a key to many ecosystem functions in aquatic environments. Yet mechanistic understanding of microalgae aggregation, especially the interactions with ubiquitous bacteria populations, remains elusive. We reported an experimental study illustrating how the emerging bacterial populations interacted with a model microalga (Chlamydomonas microsphaera) cells and the consequent aggregation patterns. Results showed that the emergence of bacterial populations significantly stimulated C. microsphaera aggregation. Both bacterial and C. microsphaera motilities were remarkably excited upon coculturing, with the mean cell velocity being up to 2.67 and 1.80 times of those of separate bacterial and C. microsphaera cultures, respectively. The stimulated bacterial and C. microsphaera cell velocity upon coculturing would likely provide a mechanism for enhanced probability of cell-cell collisions that led to amplified aggregation of C. microsphaera population. Correlation analysis revealed that bacterial resource foraging (for polysaccharides) was likely a candidate mechanism for stimulated cell motility in an organic carbon source-limited environment, whereby C. microsphaera-derived polysaccharides serve as the sole organic carbon source for heterotrophic bacteria which in turns facilitates bacteria-C. microsphaera aggregation. Additional analysis showed that bacterial populations capable of successive decomposing algal-derived organic matters dominated the cocultures, with the top five abundant genera of Brevundimonas (24.78%), Shinella (17.94%), Sphingopyxis (11.62%), Dongia (5.82%) and Hyphomicrobium (5.45%). These findings provide new insights into full understanding of microalgae-bacteria interactions and consequent microbial aggregation characteristics in aquatic ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113924
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number113924
Early online date7 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


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