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Biogeochemistry of acetate in anoxic sediments of Skan Bay, Alaska


The role of acetate in the biogeochemical cycling of organic matter in contemporary marine anoxic sediments of Skan Bay, Alaska was investigated with inhibition and quasi in situ turnover experiments. The turnover time for acetate oxidation in the upper 30 cm of the sediment column is ca. 1 hr. A molybdate inhibition experiment indicated that sulfate reducing bacteria were responsible for more than 95% of acetate oxidation. However, measured acetate oxidation rates exceeded sulfate reduction rates indicating that acetate oxidation rates are overestimated. Values for acetate concentration calculated from sulfate reduction rates (0.3-3.4 μM) were considerably lower than directly measured acetate concentrations (3.1-10.8 μM). Much of the chemically measured acetate may be microbially unavailable, perhaps in the form of a soluble or colloidal complex. A sorption experiment indicates that 10% to 40% of added acetate associates with Skan Bay sediment particles. Production of methane from acetate was detected only at 2 m depth. © 1984.

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