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ISME J. 2011 Jul;5(7):1201-12. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2010.205. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

Nitrogen fixation and nitrogenase (nifH) expression in tropical waters of the eastern North Atlantic.

Author information

1
Department of Ocean Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA. kturk@ucsc.edu

Abstract

Expression of nifH in 28 surface water samples collected during fall 2007 from six stations in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands (north-east Atlantic) was examined using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based clone libraries and quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis of seven diazotrophic phylotypes. Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) rates and nutrient concentrations were determined for these stations, which were selected based on a range in surface chlorophyll concentrations to target a gradient of primary productivity. BNF rates greater than 6 nmolN l(-1) h(-1) were measured at two of the near-shore stations where high concentrations of Fe and PO(4)(3-) were also measured. Six hundred and five nifH transcripts were amplified by RT-PCR, of which 76% are described by six operational taxonomic units, including Trichodesmium and the uncultivated UCYN-A, and four non-cyanobacterial diazotrophs that clustered with uncultivated Proteobacteria. Although all five cyanobacterial phylotypes quantified in RT-qPCR assays were detected at different stations in this study, UCYN-A contributed most significantly to the pool of nifH transcripts in both coastal and oligotrophic waters. A comparison of results from RT-PCR clone libraries and RT-qPCR indicated that a γ-proteobacterial phylotype was preferentially amplified in clone libraries, which underscores the need to use caution interpreting clone-library-based nifH studies, especially when considering the importance of uncultivated proteobacterial diazotrophs.

PMID:
21228888
PMCID:
PMC3146282
DOI:
10.1038/ismej.2010.205
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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