Mixotrophy in marine picocyanobacteria: use of organic compounds by Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus

Munoz-Marin, M. C.; Gomez-Baena, G.; Lopez-Lozano, A.; Moreno-Cabezuelo, J. A.; Diez, J.; Garcia-Fernandez, J. M.

Publicación: ISME JOURNAL
VL / 14 - BP / 1065 - EP / 1073
Marine picocyanobacteria of the Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus genera have been longtime considered as autotrophic organisms. However, compelling evidence published over the last 15 years shows that these organisms can use different organic compounds containing key elements to survive in oligotrophic oceans, such as N (amino acids, amino sugars), S (dimethylsulfoniopropionate, DMSP), or P (ATP). Furthermore, marine picocyanobacteria can also take up glucose and use it as a source of carbon and energy, despite the fact that this compound is devoid of limiting elements and can also be synthesized by using standard metabolic pathways. This review will outline the main findings suggesting mixotrophy in the marine picocyanobacteria Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus, and its ecological relevance for these important primary producers.

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