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© 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The role of priming processes in the remineralization of terrestrially derived dissolved organic carbon (TDOC) in aquatic systems has been overlooked. We provide evidence for TDOC priming using a lab-based microcosm experiment in which TDOC was primed by the addition of 13C-labeled algal dissolved organic carbon (ADOC) or a 13C-labeled disaccharide (trehalose). The rate of TDOC remineralization to carbon dioxide (CO2) occurred 4.1±0.9 and 1.5±0.3 times more rapidly with the addition of trehalose and ADOC, respectively, relative to experiments with TDOC as the sole carbon source over the course of a 301h incubation period. Results from these controlled experiments provide fundamental evidence for the occurrence of priming of TDOC by ADOC and a simple disaccharide. We suggest that priming effects on TDOC should be considered in carbon budgets for large-river deltas, estuaries, lakes, hydroelectric reservoirs, and continental shelves. Key Points Priming of organic matter exists in aquatic systems Ramifications of this work have major implications on greenhouse gas emissions First evidence for lab conditions of priming setting stage for more fieldwork.

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Geophysical Research Letters

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