1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, SDU2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, SDU
How to live with sulfidic feet
Sulfide intrusion in seagrasses represents a global threat to seagrasses. In contrast seegrasses grow in hostile sediments, where they are constantly exposed to sulfide intrusion. Little is known about the strategies to survive sulfide intrusion, if there are detoxification mechanisms and sulfur nutrition in general. By a global review of sulfide intrusion, coupled with a series of field studies and in situ experiments we elucidate sulfide intrusion and different strategies of seagrasses to sustain sulfide intrusion. Using stable isotope tracing, scanning electron microscopy with x-ray analysis to trace sulfur compounds and as well as metabolomics upon sulfide and anoxia exposure we identified different strategies to cope with sulfidic sediments. 1) Avoidance, by reoxidation of gaseous sulfide in the arenchyma to elemental sulfur and sulfate; where precipitation of sulfide occurred as non-toxic elemental sulfur on the inner wall of the root lacunae. 2) Tolerance by incorporation, where gaseous sulfide is incorporated by enzymatic uptake and accumulated as organic sulfur, representing a non-toxic storage compound. We found considerable amounts of sediment sulfides incorporated in seagrasses indicating a possible role of sulfide in the sulfur nutrition beside the detoxification function. Our results suggest different adaptations of Z. marina to reduced sediments and sulfide intrusion ranging from bacterial and chemical reoxidation of sulfide to sulfate to incorporation of sulfide into organic sulfur compounds in the plant.