Scanning Microscopy


The occurrence and cation content of bacteria in a eutrophic freshwater lake (Rostherne Mere, Cheshire, UK) were investigated over a one year sampling period in relation to cation changes in the lake surface water and phytoplankton.

Scanning electron microscope examination of trawl-net and filtered samples demonstrated bacterial association with Anabaena, Aphanizomenon and diatoms. Direct counts of associated and unassociated bacteria showed that increases in bacterial population relate to population decline of major algal constituents.

Spectrophotometric determination of selected cation levels in the lake water demonstrated wide fluctuations throughout the sampling period, with elevated levels of transition metals before and at the end of Summer stratification. Zn and Pb also showed increased levels in relation to episodic events.

Mass fractions of spectrophotometrically-determined selected cations (Fe, Cu, Zn and Pb) in phytoplankton also varied considerably during the sampling period, with major increases apparently following peaks in water level.

X-ray microanalysis of whole, unassociated bacterial eel ls demonstrated high levels of soluble and bound cations, including K, Ca, Fe, Cu, Ni, Zn and Pb. Changes in the cation levels of bacteria did not follow a similar pattern to the general phytoplankton - probably due to differences in uptake or adsorption or to cycling of bacterial cells in the water column.

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