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Seasonal variations of the composition of microbial biofilms in sandy tidal flats: Focus of fatty acids, pigments and exopolymers

TitreSeasonal variations of the composition of microbial biofilms in sandy tidal flats: Focus of fatty acids, pigments and exopolymers
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuteursPassarelli, C, Meziane, T, Thiney, N, Boeuf, D, Jesus, B, Ruivo, M, Jeanthon, C, Hubas, C
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Pagination29 - 37
Mots-clésbiofilms, biogenic structures, EPS, fatty acids, monosaccharide composition, pigments

Abstract Biofilms, or microbial mats, are common associations of microorganisms in tidal flats; they generally consist of a large diversity of organisms embedded in a matrix of Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS). These molecules are mainly composed of carbohydrates and proteins, but their detailed monomer compositions and seasonal variations are currently unknown. Yet this composition determines the numerous roles of biofilms in these systems. This study investigated the changes in composition of carbohydrates in intertidal microbial mats over a year to decipher seasonal variations in biofilms and in varying hydrodynamic conditions. This work also aimed to assess how these compositions are related to microbial assemblages. In this context, natural biofilms whose development was influenced or not by artificial structures mimicking polychaete tubes were sampled monthly for over a year in intertidal flats of the Chausey archipelago. Biofilms were compared through the analysis of their fatty acid and pigment contents, and the monosaccharide composition of their \{EPS\} carbohydrates. Carbohydrates from both colloidal and bound \{EPS\} contained mainly glucose and, to a lower extent, galactose and mannose but they showed significant differences in their detailed monosaccharide compositions. These two fractions displayed different seasonal evolution, even if glucose accumulated in both fractions in summer; bound \{EPS\} only were affected by artificial biogenic structures. Sediment composition in fatty acids and pigments showed that microbial communities were dominated by diatoms and heterotrophic bacteria. Their relative proportions, as well as those of other groups like cryptophytes, changed between times and treatments. The changes in \{EPS\} composition were not fully explained by modifications of microbial assemblages but also depended on the processes taking place in sediments and on environmental conditions. These variations of \{EPS\} compositions are likely to alter different ecosystem processes such as biostabilisation or pollutants trapping.