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New Project: Investigation of the Presence and Role of Poly-phosphate Accumulating Microorganism (PAOs) in Phosphorus Cycle and Utilization in Lake and Sediment

April Z. Gu

Better understand P cycling in natural environments is of great significance to take better strategies in global P management. Although it is ultimately important to consider the full spectrum of all P compounds, polyphosphate (PolyP) is an overlooked but significant mediator of global P cycling. Based on a published large-scope survey among 22 European lakes differing in trophic status, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and morphology, NMR analysis showed PolyP/TP ratios in surface sediments varied from 1.5 to 11.4%. In all cases where PolyP was detected, it was regarded to be biotically generated. The settlement of PolyP-containing microorganisms onto sediments could also serve as an input for sediment PolyP. PolyP in sediments, if any, could be degraded and worsen the degree of eutrophication by resuspension even when P inflows are completely cut off. In this study, we used a combination of advanced techniques that have been developed or adopted in the Gu Lab on campus, including NMR, polyP staining, single cell Raman microspectroscopy and amplicon sequencing to detect and monitor the presence and abundance of polyP and PAOs in Oneida Lake with temporal and spatial resolutions. Sample collection was completed in June and July 2019 and then analyzed during the winter- fall period.