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Environ Microbiol. 2009 May;11(5):1194-207. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01850.x. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Biogeographical distribution of diverse anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria in Cape Fear River Estuary.

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Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, NC 28403, USA.


Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) specific PCR method was developed to examine diversity and distribution of anammox bacteria in sediments collected from three different sites at Cape Fear River Estuary, North Carolina, where environmental parameters vary greatly over the year. Abundance and activities of anammox bacteria in these sediments were measured using the quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) method and (15)N isotope tracer incubations. Different anammox bacterial communities composed with Brocadia, Kuenenia, Jettenia or Scalindua were found among sites along the estuarine gradient. Seasonal variations of anammox community structures were observed along the estuary based on terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of 16S rRNA genes. Correlation analysis suggested that salinity variation influenced the diversity and distribution of different anammox bacteria in the estuary. Q-PCR assays of anammox bacteria showed temporal and spatial variations of their abundances, which were highly correlated to salinity variation. (15)N isotope tracer incubations measured different anammox rates and its per cent contribution to total N(2) production among sites. The highest anammox rate was found at the site where Scalindua organisms dominated with the highest anammox bacterial abundance. Thus, we demonstrated a biogeographical distribution of diverse anammox bacteria influenced by salinity, and provide evidence to link anammox abundance and activities in estuarine sediments.

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