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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Aug;50(2):194-201.

Marine ammonia- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria: serological diversity determined by immunofluorescence in culture and in the environment.

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  • 1Institute of Marine Resources, A-018, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093.


Immunofluorescence assays for marine ammonium- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria were used to assess the diversity of nitrifying bacteria isolated from marine environments. The antisera show relatively broad specificity, in that each reacts with several strains of the same physiological type as the strain to which the antiserum was prepared. The antisera do not, however, react with any strains of differing physiological type. Seventy percent of the 30 unidentified ammonium-oxidizing isolates tested reacted with one or both of the antisera produced to marine ammonium-oxidizing strains, and 8 of the 9 unidentified nitrite-oxidizing strains tested reacted with 1 or more of the 3 nitrite oxidizer antisera used. Ammonium- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria were enumerated in samples taken in a depth profile (to 750 m) in the Southern California Bight by immunofluorescence assays for two ammonium oxidizers and two nitrite oxidizers. Average abundances of the two types of nitrifiers were 3.5 x 10 and 2.8 x 10 cells liter, respectively. Nitrifiers constitute 0.1 to 0.8% of the total bacterial population in these samples.

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