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Environ Microbiol. 2008 Nov;10(11):3120-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01643.x. Epub 2008 May 6.

Enrichment and characterization of marine anammox bacteria associated with global nitrogen gas production.

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Department of Microbiology, IWWR, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Microbiological investigation of anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria has until now been restricted to wastewater species. The present study describes the enrichment and characterization of two marine Scalindua species, the anammox genus that dominates almost all natural habitats investigated so far. The species were enriched from a marine sediment in the Gullmar Fjord (Sweden) using a medium based on Red Sea salt. Anammox cells comprised about 90% of the enrichment culture after 10 months. The enriched Scalindua bacteria displayed all typical features known for anammox bacteria, including turnover of hydrazine, the presence of ladderane lipids, and a compartmentalized cellular ultrastructure. The Scalindua species also showed a nitrate-dependent use of formate, acetate and propionate, and performed a formate-dependent reduction of nitrate, Fe(III) and Mn(IV). This versatile metabolism may be the basis for the global distribution and substantial contribution of the marine Scalindua anammox bacteria to the nitrogen loss from oxygen-limited marine ecosystems.

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