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The vitality of eight macrophyte species and the microbial activity of sediment in an oligotrophic lake (Lake Bohinj, Slovenia) were studied via the terminal electron transport system (ETS) activity of mitochondria. The levels of ETS activity of vascular plants were as follows: Ranunculus circinatus, Myriohpyllum spicatum, Potamogeton alpinus, P. perfoliatus, P. lucens. Fontinalis antipyretica exhibited the highest ETS activity of the non-vascular plants, followed by charales Chara delicatula and C. aspera. High values enable R. circinatus, an amphibious species with rapid growth, to survive under conditions in which the water level changes throughout the season. M. spicatum, a species with broad ecological tolerance, also exhibited high ETS activity. The ETS activity of the microbial community in sediment was affected by temperature and/or the amount and origin of the organic matter. A positive correlation between the ETS activity of the sediment and that of M. spicatum and R. circinatus was measured, while negative correlations or no correlation were observed for mosses and macroalgae. The high ETS activity in sediment indicates rapid mineralization of organic matter and, in turn, sufficient nutrients for growth of macrophytes.
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