It is becoming increasingly evident that the use of organic nutrients is widespread among many aquatic phototrophic organisms. Simultaneously, incidents of eutrophication of coastal waters are becoming more common due to rises in organic nutrient loads deriving from anthropogenic activities and natural terrestrial processes. In the northern Adriatic Sea, blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata are reported as a frequent phenomenon linked to particular environmental conditions, including increased organic nutrient loads. Ostreopsis blooms typically produce a mucilaginous biofilm that can cover all benthic substrata. In order to clarify the role of dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) in the onset and maintenance of an O. cf. ovata bloom, we investigated the growth rates in the presence of a range of phosphomonoesters (PMEs) (D-fructose 1, 6-disphosphate, β-glycerophosphate, α-D-glucose 1-phosphate, guanosine 5’-monophos-phate and phytic acid) and phosphodiesters (PDEs) (DNA and RNA). Levels of both phosphomonoesterase (PMEase) and phosphodiesterase (PDEase) activities were assessed in the O. cf. ovata biofilms. The results showed that O. cf. ovata growth is not inhibited in media containing a wide range of DOP and diverse ratios of PME:PDE compared to those containing inorganic phosphorus. Much of the hydrolytic activity was associated with bacteria and with extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs). Our findings suggest that the success of O. cf. ovata stems from the collective participation of all components of the biofilm (O. cf. ovata, EPSs and bacteria) that allows it to thrive in phosphorus-limited environments, but where the main source of phosphorus is organic.
Ellwood, N., Pasella, M.M., Totti, C., Accoroni, S. (2020). Growth and phosphatase activities of ostreopsis cf. Ovata biofilms supplied with diverse dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) compounds. AQUATIC MICROBIAL ECOLOGY, 85, 155-166 [10.3354/AME01946].