Microbial decomposition of proteins and lipids in copepod versus rotifer carcasses

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Zooplankton carcasses are common within aquatic systems and potentially serve as organic-rich substrates for bacteria. We compared the microbial decomposition of representative crustacean (copepod) and non-crustacean (rotifer) zooplankton carcasses and monitored changes in carcass protein and lipid contents. Our results showed that carcass decomposition was mainly driven by bacteria colonizing from the surrounding water. Carcass-associated bacteria displayed higher protease and lipase activities than free-living bacteria. Protein content of copepod carcasses decreased by 70% within the first 8 h and shifted from larger to smaller sized proteins, while protein loss in rotifer carcasses was insignificant. Carcass lipid content did not change significantly over 24 h in either zooplankton type, although polar branched fatty acids increased on copepod carcasses indicating an increase in viable microbial biomass. Our results suggest differential turnover of protein versus lipid within a zooplankton carcass and that carcasses from different zooplankton groups would affect water column microbial processes differently.

    loading  Loading Related Articles