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We have examined sediments from a fringing salt marsh in Maine to further understand marine CO metabolism, about which relatively little is known. Intact cores from the marsh emitted CO during dark oxic incubations, but emission rates were significantly higher during anoxic incubations, which provided evidence for simultaneous production and aerobic consumption in surface sediments. CO emission rates were also elevated when cores were exposed to light, which indicated that photochemical reactions play a role in CO production. A kinetic analysis of marsh surface sediments yielded an apparent Km of about 82 ppm, which exceeded values reported for well-aerated soils that consume atmospheric CO (65nM). Surface (0-0.2 cm depth interval) sediment slurries incubated under oxic conditions rapidly consumed CO, and methyl fluoride did not inhibit uptake, which indicated that neither ammonia nor methane oxidizers contributed to the observed activity. In contrast, aerobic CO uptake was inhibited by additions of readily available organic substrates (pyruvate, glucose and glycine), but not by cellulose. CO was also consumed by surface and sub-surface sediment slurries incubated under anaerobic conditions, but rates were less than during aerobic incubations. Molybdate and nitrate or nitrite, but not 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid, partially inhibited anaerobic uptake. These results suggest that sulfidogens and acetogens, but not dissimilatory nitrate reducers or methanogens, actively consume CO. Sediment-free plant roots also oxidized CO aerobically; rates for Spartina patens and Limonium carolinianum roots were significantly higher than rates for Spartina alterniflora roots. Thus plants may also impact CO cycling in estuarine environments. © 2006 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

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FEMS Microbiology Ecology

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