Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

Biology

Abstract

Preparations of uniformly [14C] labeled mangrove leaves and specifically radiolabeled [14C-lignin] lignocelluloses and [14C -polysaccharide]lignocelluloses from mangrove leaves and wood were used in experiments to determine the microbial rates of mineralization of the leachable and lignocellulosic components of mangrove detritus in aerobic and anaerobic sediments of a tropical mangrove swamp. The bulk of the leachable fraction from mangrove leaves was mineralized relatively rapidly and was assimilated into microbial biomass with high efficiency (30 %). In contrast, rates of mineralization of the lignocellulosic component of mangrove leaves and wood were 10fold lower than mineralization rates of the leachable fraction. The polysaccharide component of the lignocelluloses was mineralized at rates 2 times higher than rates of mineralization of the lignin component, indicating that mangrove detritus becomes relatively enriched in lignin-derived carbon with time. Anaerobic rates of mineralization of the leachable and lignocellulosic components of mangrove leaves and wood were 10 to 30 times lower than respective aerobic mineralization rates, suggesting a very long residence time for mangrove detritus in anaerobic sediments. Comparison of the rates of degradation of mangrove detritus in sediments from a mangrove swamp and a salt marsh demonstrated that the lignocellulolytic potential in sediments of the two marine ecosystems are similar, but that lignocellulose from mangroves is less biodegradable than lignocellulose from the salt-marsh plants, Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus.

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