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Orsi, William D. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4094-5637 (2023): A rapid method for measuring ATP + ADP + AMP in marine sediment. In: Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 25, No. 8: pp. 1549-1558 [PDF, 788kB]


In this report, I describe a method for rapid measurement of total adenylate (ATP + ADP + AMP) in marine sediment samples for estimating microbial biomass. A simple ‘boil and dilute’ method is described here, whereby adding boiled MilliQ water to sediments increases the detection limit for ATP + ADP + AMP up to 100-fold. The lowered detection limit of this method enabled the detection ATP + ADP + AMP in relatively low-biomass sub-seafloor sediment cores with 104 16S rRNA gene copies per gram. Concentrations of ATP + ADP + AMP correlated with 16S rRNA gene concentrations from bacteria and archaea across six different sites that range in water depth from 1 to 6000 m indicating that the ATP + ADP + AMP method can be used as an additional biomass proxy. In deep sea microbial communities, the ratio of ATP + ADP + AMP concentrations to 16S rRNA genes >1 m below seafloor was significantly lower compared to communities in the upper 30 cm of sediment, which may be due to reduced cell sizes and or lower ATP + ADP + AMP concentrations per cell in the deep sea sub-seafloor biosphere. The boil and dilute method for ATP + ADP + AMP is demonstrated here to have a detection limit sufficient for measuring low biomass communities from deep sea sub-seafloor cores. The method can be applied to frozen samples, enabling measurements of ATP + ADP + AMP from frozen sediment cores stored in core repositories from past and future international drilling campaigns.

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