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Genetic manipulation of competition for nitrate between heterotrophic bacteria and diatoms

Using the genetically tractable model system developed in this study, we have described mechanisms of interaction between diatoms and bacteria that may be of global biogeochemical significance. Our data strongly suggests bidirectional exchange of N substrates between diatoms and bacteria, and revealed putative diatom genes and pathways that may be impacted by the presence of bacteria and involved in N exchange. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that under certain environmental conditions (i.e., high DOC), marine bacteria are able to effectively compete with diatoms for NO3, which may influence predictions of primary productivity and nutrient utilization by phytoplankton in the ocean and associated estimates of C export via the biological pump.

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