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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Jul;66(7):2873-81.

Analysis of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria from hypersaline Mono Lake, California, on the basis of 16S rRNA sequences.

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Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, USA.


Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria were detected by PCR amplification of DNA extracted from filtered water samples throughout the water column of Mono Lake, California. Ammonia-oxidizing members of the beta subdivision of the division Proteobacteria (beta-subdivision Proteobacteria) were detected using previously characterized PCR primers; target sequences were detected by direct amplification in both surface water and below the chemocline. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis indicated the presence of at least four different beta-subdivision ammonia oxidizers in some samples. Subsequent sequencing of amplified 16S rDNA fragments verified the presence of sequences very similar to those of cultured Nitrosomonas strains. Two separate analyses, carried out under different conditions (different reagents, locations, PCR machines, sequencers, etc.), 2 years apart, detected similar ranges of sequence diversity in these samples. It seems likely that the physiological diversity of nitrifiers exceeds the diversity of their ribosomal sequences and that these sequences represent members of the Nitrosomonas europaea group that are acclimated to alkaline, high-salinity environments. Primers specific for Nitrosococcus oceanus, a marine ammonia-oxidizing bacterium in the gamma subdivision of the Proteobacteria, did not amplify target from any samples.

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