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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 1, p. 86-91
    Received: Apr 17, 1970
    Accepted: Sept 23, 1970

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Adenosine Triphosphate in Lake Sediments: II. Origin and Significance1

  1. C. C. Lee,
  2. R. F. Harris,
  3. J. D. H. Williams,
  4. J. K. Syers and
  5. D. E. Armstrong2



The origin and significance of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in lake sediments were evaluated using the H2SO4-exchange resin, bioluminescene technique for ATP determination. The effects of growth stage and media composition, particularly P status, on the ATP content of Aerobacter aerogenes and other bacterial species were characterized under well-defined growth conditions in sediment-free systems as a basis for interpreting ATP-bacterial cell relationships in the presence of sediments. ATP calculated from plate count-derived bacterial numbers using a conversion factor of 1 to 4 × 10-10 µg ATP/cell was consistent with the ATP content of irradiation-sterilized sediment suspensions incubated with A. aerogenes or a mixed indigenous sediment microbial population, indicating that (i) no measureable extracellular ATP accumulated in the sediments, (ii) the sediment bacteria existed in a relatively inactive but not P-deficient steady-state characterized by an ATP content in the 1 to 4 × 10-10 µg/cell range, and (iii) the majority of the bacteria developing in the incubated sediments were capable of growth on Na caseinate agar. Bacterial ATP calculated from plate count data constituted a minor fraction of the total ATP of most of the natural sediment samples evaluated. The potential of using ATP as an index of the relative amounts of C, N, P, and S associated with the living as compared to the nonliving phase of the sediments is discussed.

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