Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Hydrolysis of alginic acid in decomposing Macrocystis deposited on beaches of Monterey Bay
Student Author(s): Beers, Douglas
Pages: 9
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1972
Keywords: sandy beaches
Abstract: Alginase activity of decomposing Macrocystis is maximal after six days of decomposition. Two forms of bacteria capable of using alginate as a sole carbon source were isolated from this decomposing material. Enzyme preparations from both forms behave very similarly. No synergistic effect could be demonstrated when the enzymes were tested in combination. This enzyme acts extra-cellularly and is relatively heat-stable, suffering on 30% inactiviation after 1 hour at 100 degrees C. No elimiase activity like that described by Nakada and Sweeney (1967) was observed in the cultures or culture supernatants. These experiments suggest that the rate of decomposition of alginate is directly a function of the amount of hydrolytic alginase present and active. The use of viscosimetry for the assay of alginase activity has proved to be an accurate means for measuring this enzyme in a variety of materials. Alginate as an energy-rich food source to the sandy beach community appears to be made available to non-alginase producing organisms through microbial activity.