Syntrophic relationships between algae and bacteria in a fresh-water stream and in culture /
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Interactions between freshwater algae and bacteria were examined in a natural stream habitat and a laboratory model. Field observations provided circumstantial evidence, in statistical correlation for syntrophy between the microbial populations. This relation is probably subject to control by the temperature and pH of the aquatic environment. Several species of a pond community were isolated in axenic culture and tests were performed to determine the nature of mixed species interactions. Isolation procedures and field studies indicated that selected strains of Chlorella and Azotobacter were closely associated in their natural habitat. With the suspected controlling parameters, pH and temperature, held constant, mixed cultures of algae and bacteria were compared to axenic cultures of the same organisms, and a mutual stimulation of growth was observed. A mixed pure culture apparatus was designed in this laboratory to study the algal-bacterial interaction and to test the hypothesis that such an interaction may take place through a diffusable substance or through certain medium-borne conditions, Azotobacter was found to take up a Chlorella-produced exudate, to stimulate protein synthesis, to enhance chlorophyll production and to cause a numerical increase in the interacting Chlorella population. It is not clear whether control is at the environmental, cellular or genetic level in these mixed population interactions. Experimental observations in the model system, taken with field correlations allow one to state that there may be a direct relationship governing the population fluctuations of these two organisms in their natural stream surroundings.