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Sterols in Decomposing Spartina alterniflora and the Use of Ergosterol in Estimating the Contribution of Fungi to Detrital Nitrogen

Cindy Lee, Robert W. Howarth and Brian L. Howes
Limnology and Oceanography
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Mar., 1980), pp. 290-303
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2835426
Page Count: 14
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Sterols in Decomposing Spartina alterniflora and the Use of Ergosterol in Estimating the Contribution of Fungi to Detrital Nitrogen
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Abstract

Changes in concentrations of free sterols in decomposing Spartina alterniflora indicate that this marsh grass may be a significant source of sterols, primarily sitosterol, to tidal waters. These tidal waters may then transport the sterols (adsorbed to particulate matter) to nearby coastal sediments. Estimates of bacterial and fungal biomass in the detritus show that the living cells of these microbes account for only a minor part of the relative increase in nitrogen observed during decomposition. Biomass was estimated by direct counts for bacteria and by measuring the concentration of ergosterol-a sterol specific to fungi.

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