DOI: 10.1101/459461Nov 4, 2018Paper

Metabolite composition of sinking particles reflects a changing microbial community and differential metabolite degradation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Winifred M. JohnsonElizabeth B. Kujawinski


Marine sinking particles transport carbon from the surface and bury it in deep sea sediments where it can be sequestered on geologic time scales. The combination of the surface ocean food web that produces these particles and the particle-associated microbial community that degrades these particles, creates a complex set of variables that control organic matter cycling. We use targeted metabolomics to characterize a suite of small biomolecules, or metabolites, in sinking particles and compare their metabolite composition to that of the suspended particles in the euphotic zone from which they are likely derived. These samples were collected in the South Atlantic subtropical gyre, as well as in the equatorial Atlantic region and the Amazon River plume. The composition of targeted metabolites in the sinking particles was relatively similar throughout the transect, despite the distinct oceanic regions in which they were generated. Metabolites possibly derived from the degradation of nucleic acids and lipids, such as xanthine and glycine betaine, were an increased mole fraction of the targeted metabolites in the sinking particles relative to surface suspended particles, while algal-derived metabolites like the osmolyte dimethylsulfo...Continue Reading

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