Aerosol bacteria over the Southern Ocean during ACE-1

Mihály Pósfai, Jia Li, James R. Anderson, P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individual bacterial cells occur in many samples that were collected at Cape Grim, Tasmania and during the Lagrangian "B" experiment of the Aerosol Characterization Experiment 1 (ACE-1) campaign that was conducted above the Southern Ocean. They are present in samples from altitudes as high as 5.4 km. Morphologically, almost all bacteria are rod-shaped, about 1 μm long or smaller, have one polar flagellum, and contain inclusions that are rich in P and K. Their morphological features suggest that these bacteria are motile, marine species. It seems likely that the cells became airborne by the same bubble-bursting mechanism that ejects sea-salt aerosol particles into the atmosphere; however, the bacteria and sea-salt particles are typically not aggregated with one another. The estimated number ratio of bacteria and the dominant aerosol species, sea salt, varies in the samples and averages about 1%. The aerosol bacteria seem to represent an important atmospheric reservoir of P and organic compounds; on the other hand, since they are externally mixed with sea salt, they are unlikely to be effective as cloud condensation nuclei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Research
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

Keywords

  • ACE-1
  • Airborne bacteria
  • Bacteria
  • Individual particles
  • Marine aerosol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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