||Microbial Trophic Interactions in Aquatic Microcosms Designed for Testing Genetically Engineered Microorganisms: A Field Comparison.
Kroer, N. ;
Coffin, R. B. ;
||National Environmental Research Inst., Roskilde (Denmark). Dept. of Marine Ecology and Microbiology. ;Technical Resources, Inc., Gulf Breeze, FL.;Environmental Research Lab., Gulf Breeze, FL.
Aquatic ecosystems ;
Aquatic microbiology ;
Genetic engineering ;
Field tests ;
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Microcosms may potentially be used as tools for evaluating the fate and effects of genetically engineered microorganisms released into the environment. Extrapolation of data to the field, however, requires that the correspondence between microcosm and field is known. Microbial trophic interactions within the microbial loop were compared quantitatively and qualitatively between field and microcosms containing estuarine water with and without intact sediment cores. The comparison showed that whereas proportions between trophic levels in microcosms were qualitatively similar to those in the field, rates of microbial processes were from 25 to 40% lower in microcosms. Nitrogen cycling was disrupted in microcosms incubated in the dark to eliminate primary production. Examination of the microbial parameters further suggests that sediment in microcosms may be an important factor regulating the bacterial trophic level. These results demonstrate that analysis of microbial trophic interactions is a sensitive method for the field comparison of aquatic microcosms and a potentially useful tool in the risk assessment of genetically engineered microorganisms. (Copyright (c) Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1992.)