OUC Made New Progress in the Research of Organic Sulfur Cycling Driven by Marine Microorganisms

On November 29, a team led by Prof. Zhang Yuzhong from the College of Marine Life Sciences published a research paper titled “DMSOP-cleaving enzymes are diverse and widely distributed in marine microorganisms” online in Nature Microbiology. 

Dimethylsulfoxonium propionate (DMSOP) is a recently discovered small molecular organosulfur compound in the marine environment. It is estimated that millions of tons of DMSOP are produced annually, playing a significant role in the global carbon and sulfur cycles. Many marine microorganisms can cleave DMSOP to produce DMSO, but the enzyme responsible for catalyzing the cleavage of DMSOP and its environmental importance remains unclear.

The study reveals that in marine surface sediment environments, the concentration of DMSOP can reach millimolar levels, significantly higher than its nanomolar levels in seawater. This suggests that the environmental significance of DMSOP may have been severely underestimated previously. Many marine microorganisms can utilize DMSOP as a carbon and sulfur source for growth, while DMSOP can serve as an osmoprotectant to help microorganisms withstand high salt stress. 

Prof. Zhang's team has achieved a series of research breakthroughs in recent years in the field of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycling driven by marine microorganisms. Their latest research results, published in Nature Microbiology, mark another important advancement in their ongoing studies in marine microbiology and microbial oceanography.