News of the WeekMicrobiology

Multitasking Is This Plankton's Trademark

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  16 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5546, pp. 1435
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5546.1435a

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Like many other so-called cyanobacteria, Trichodesmium processes nitrogen to make ammonia and also produces oxygen via photosynthesis, activities that are usually chemically incompatible. Now, researchers think they have figured out how Trichodesmium seemingly manages both processes at once. As reported on page 1534, this cyanobacterium carefully balances the amount of time it spends on photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation, shifting from one process to the other.