Metabolism of mineral-sorbed organic matter depends upon microbial lifestyle in fluvial ecosystems

William Ross Hunter, Robert Niederdorfer, Anna Gernand, Bart Veuger, Judith Prommer, Maria Mooshammer, Wolfgang Wanek, Tom J Battin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


In fluvial ecosystems mineral erosion, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fluxes are linked via organo-mineral complexation, where dissolved organic molecules bind to mineral surfaces. Biofilms and suspended aggregates represent major aquatic microbial lifestyles whose relative importance changes predictably through fluvial networks. We tested how organo-mineral sorption affects aquatic microbial metabolism, using organo-mineral particles containing a mix of 13C, 15N-labelled amino acids. We traced 13C and 15N retention within biofilm and suspended aggregate biomass and its mineralisation. Organo-mineral complexation restricted C and N retention within biofilms and aggregates and also their mineralisation. This reduced the efficiency with which biofilms mineralise C and N by 30 % and 6 %. By contrast, organo-minerals reduced the C and N mineralisation efficiency of suspended aggregates by 41 % and 93 %. Our findings show how organo-mineral complexation affects microbial C:N stoichiometry, potentially altering the biogeochemical fate of C and N within fluvial ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1588
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Feb 2016


  • Amino Acid
  • Suspended Aggregate
  • Organo-mineral
  • Nitrogen
  • Carbon
  • Biofilm


Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolism of mineral-sorbed organic matter depends upon microbial lifestyle in fluvial ecosystems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this