Extracellular Enzyme Activity and Microbial Diversity Measured on Seafloor Exposed Basalts from Loihi Seamount Indicate the Importance of Basalts to Global Biogeochemical Cycling
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Seafloor basalts are widely distributed and host diverse prokaryotic communities, but no data exist concerning the metabolic rates of the resident microbial communities. We present here potential extracellular enzyme activities of leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) and alkaline phosphatase (AP) measured on basalt samples from different locations on Loihi Seamount, HI, coupled with analysis of prokaryotic biomass and pyrosequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. The community maximum potential enzyme activity (Vmax) of LAP ranged from 0.47 to 0.90 nmol (g rock)(-1) h(-1); the Vmax for AP was 28 to 60 nmol (g rock)(-1) h(-1). The Km of LAP ranged from 26 to 33 μM, while the Km for AP was 2 to 7 μM. Bacterial communities on Loihi basalts were comprised primarily of Alpha-, Delta-, andGammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Planctomycetes. The putative ability to produce LAP is evenly distributed across the most commonly detected bacterial orders, but the ability to produce AP is likely dominated by bacteria in the orders Xanthomonadales, Flavobacteriales, and Planctomycetales. The enzyme activities on Loihi basalts were compared to those of other marine environments that have been studied and were found to be similar in magnitude to those from continental shelf sediments and orders of magnitude higher than any measured in the water column, demonstrating that the potential for exposed basalts to transform organic matter is substantial. We propose that microbial communities on basaltic rock play a significant, quantifiable role in benthic biogeochemical processes.
author list (cited authors)
Meyers, M., Sylvan, J. B., & Edwards, K. J.