Bacteria were deposited in tubes as compact pellets by centrifuging suspensions of cultured Vibrio at stationary phase. Numbers and protein biomass of flagellates added to these tubes and of the Vibrio, were followed and compared with the growth of the same and other protists on identical, uncentrifuged Vibrio. The flagellates Bodo saliens and Caecitellus parvulus, which could not be seen to multiply in tubes of suspended bacteria, grazed deposited bacteria actively as did the more versatile flagellate Cafeteria roenbergensis. The growth of these flagellates and their consumption of deposited bacteria were very similar to those of the flagellate Pteridomonas danica or the ciliate Uronema marinum fed with suspended bacteria, although deposit-feeders grew more slowly. Gross growth efficiencies (30–60%) of deposit-feeding flagellates were similar to those of the suspension-feeding protists. Caecitellus consumed 55 Vibrio to produce one flagellate, while 4,500 Vibrio were consumed to produce one Uronema. Surface-feeding flagellates are shown to be efficient bacterivores, capable of restricting the numbers of bacteria deposited on surfaces just as other protozoa control numbers of suspended bacteria.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1