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Biogeographic traits of dimethyl sulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate cycling in polar oceans


Teng, Z-J and Qin, Q-L and Zhang, W and Li, J and Fu, H-H and Wang, P and Lan, M and Lu, G and He, J and McMinn, A and Wang, M and Chen, X-L and Zhang, Y-Z and Chen, Y and Li, C-Y, Biogeographic traits of dimethyl sulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate cycling in polar oceans, Microbiome, 9 Article 207. ISSN 2049-2618 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1186/s40168-021-01153-3



Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is the dominant volatile organic sulfur in global oceans. The predominant source of oceanic DMS is the cleavage of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), which can be produced by marine bacteria and phytoplankton. Polar oceans, which represent about one fifth of Earth’s surface, contribute significantly to the global oceanic DMS sea-air flux. However, a global overview of DMS and DMSP cycling in polar oceans is still lacking and the key genes and the microbial assemblages involved in DMSP/DMS transformation remain to be fully unveiled.


Here, we systematically investigated the biogeographic traits of 16 key microbial enzymes involved in DMS/DMSP cycling in 60 metagenomic samples from polar waters, together with 174 metagenome and 151 metatranscriptomes from non-polar Tara Ocean dataset. Our analyses suggest that intense DMS/DMSP cycling occurs in the polar oceans. DMSP demethylase (DmdA), DMSP lyases (DddD, DddP, and DddK), and trimethylamine monooxygenase (Tmm, which oxidizes DMS to dimethylsulfoxide) were the most prevalent bacterial genes involved in global DMS/DMSP cycling. Alphaproteobacteria (Pelagibacterales) and Gammaproteobacteria appear to play prominent roles in DMS/DMSP cycling in polar oceans. The phenomenon that multiple DMS/DMSP cycling genes co-occurred in the same bacterial genome was also observed in metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) from polar oceans. The microbial assemblages from the polar oceans were significantly correlated with water depth rather than geographic distance, suggesting the differences of habitats between surface and deep waters rather than dispersal limitation are the key factors shaping microbial assemblages involved in DMS/DMSP cycling in polar oceans.


Overall, this study provides a global overview of the biogeographic traits of known bacterial genes involved in DMS/DMSP cycling from the Arctic and Antarctic oceans, laying a solid foundation for further studies of DMS/DMSP cycling in polar ocean microbiome at the enzymatic, metabolic, and processual levels.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:polar oceans, DMS/DMSP cycling, geographic distribution, phylogenetic diversity
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biogeography and phylogeography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:McMinn, A (Professor Andrew McMinn)
ID Code:147230
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-10-20
Last Modified:2021-12-23
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