Some applications for the DMSO-reduction method as a new tool to determine the microbial activity in water-saturated sediments
A change in the microbial activity in sediments seems to be one of the first important signs of a change in environmental conditions. A method for the determination of microbial activity in soils was adapted for use in water-saturated sediments. The method is based on the enzymatic reduction of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) to dimethylsulfide (DMS) by microbial components of the epilithic biofilm, and gas-chromatographic determination of DMS. It is a sensitive, rapid and inexpensive method, tested in subsurface sediments, riverbed sediments, and sterilized sediments exposed or in slow filtration columns. The method can be used to investigate the microbiology of groundwater sediments.