Microbial Autotrophy: A Primary Source of Organic Carbon in Marine Sediments

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Science  06 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4388, pp. 68-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4388.68


The chemoautotrophic fixation of carbon dioxide by bacteria is responsible for an appreciable component of the organic carbon in a sulfide-rich marine mud. A peak of carbon dioxide fixation (at 40 centimeters subbottom) coincides with peaks in the organic carbon content, the ratio of carbon to nitrogen, and bacterial cell counts. Stimulation of fixation by thiosulfate and inhibition by anaerobic conditions implicate the chemoautotrophic sulfur bacteria as primary producers in this environment.