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High viral infection rates in Antarctic and Arctic bacterioplankton

  • Christin Säwström
  • Wilhelm Granéli
  • Johanna Laybourn-Parry
  • Alexandre Magno Anesio
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 250-255
Publication/Series: Environmental Microbiology
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The frequency of visibly phage-infected bacterial cells (FVIB) and the average number of phages per cell [i.e. burst size (BS)] were determined in Antarctic and Arctic ultra-oligotrophic freshwater environments. Water samples were collected from two Antarctic freshwater lakes and cryoconite holes from a glacier in the Arctic. Data from this bipolar study show the highest FVIB (average 26.1%, range 5.1% to 66.7%) and the lowest BS (average 4, range 2–15) ever reported in the literature. The bacterial density is low in these ultra-oligotrophic freshwater environments but a large proportion of the bacteria are visibly infected. Our results suggest that a constant virioplankton population can be maintained in these extreme environments even though host density is low and often slow growing.


  • Microbiology
  • bacteria
  • antarctic
  • virus
  • arctic
  • lake


  • ISSN: 1462-2920
Wilhelm Granéli
E-mail: wilhelm [dot] graneli [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus

Aquatic ecology

+46 70 279 82 34