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Impact of feeding by Arenicola marina (L.) and ageing of faecal material on fatty acid distribution and bacterial community structure in marine sediments: An experimental approach

Abstract : The fate of ingested eukaryotic photoautotrophic fatty acids during gut transit in the lugwormArenicolamarina (L.) and the influence of A. marina's faeces on the evolution of fatty acid distribution and bacterial community structure in superficial sediments were studied under laboratory conditions. Dead phytoplanktonic cells (food portions) were fed to individual A. marina and subsequently incubated, or allowed to directly incubate in the presence of fresh egesta or non-ingested sediment. Changes in fatty acid composition and genetic structure of bacterial communities during gut transit and/or incubation were monitored using gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry and a DNA fingerprint approach (RISA), respectively. Results, supported by principal component analyses, suggest that A. marina's feeding activity can directly and indirectly affect the lipid biomarker composition and the bacterial community structure of inhabited sediments. Faecal casts produced fromfood portions appeared qualitatively enriched in saturated fatty acids relative to (poly)unsaturated ones due, partly, to an increase of some bacterial fatty acids and to the preferential removal of some polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The incubation of food portions in the presence of fresh A. marina's egesta (designed to study the indirect impact of feeding by A. marina) induced a significant increase in the concentrations of C20 and C22 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), whereas these compounds almost disappeared following direct feeding and subsequent incubation, indicating that some dietary fatty acidsmay be more accessible to biodegradation following passage through the gut of A. marina. The aforementioned increase in PUFAs was attributed to a bacterial production during incubation, suggesting the presence of PUFA-producing bacteria in the fresh egesta of A. marina. Those bacteria were either enteric bacteria thatwere releasedwith the egesta or ingested bacteria that have survived gut passage, as suggested by the variations of the bacterial community structure (i.e. RISA profiles) during incubation. The results suggest that aged faeces from A. marina might be, in some circumstances, of relatively high nutritional value to trophic levels which are unable to synthesize essential PUFAs de novo. The presence of PUFA-producing bacteria in guts of marine lugworms deserves further attention.
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Vincent Grossi, Philippe Cuny, Sarah Caradec, David Nerini, Richard Pancost, et al.. Impact of feeding by Arenicola marina (L.) and ageing of faecal material on fatty acid distribution and bacterial community structure in marine sediments: An experimental approach. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Elsevier, 2006, 336, pp.54-64. ⟨10.1016/j.jembe.2006.04.003⟩. ⟨hal-00148497⟩

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