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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2013 Aug;85(2):283-92. doi: 10.1111/1574-6941.12117. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

Cultivation and characterization of thermophilic Nitrospira species from geothermal springs in the US Great Basin, China, and Armenia.

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1
School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA.

Abstract

Despite its importance in the nitrogen cycle, little is known about nitrite oxidation at high temperatures. To bridge this gap, enrichment cultures were inoculated with sediment slurries from a variety of geothermal springs. While nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) were successfully enriched from seven hot springs located in US Great Basin, south-western China, and Armenia at ≤ 57.9 °C, all attempts to enrich NOB from > 10 hot springs at ≥ 61 °C failed. The stoichiometric conversion of nitrite to nitrate, chlorate sensitivity, and sensitivity to autoclaving all confirmed biological nitrite oxidation. Regardless of origin, all successful enrichments contained organisms with high 16S rRNA gene sequence identity (≥ 97%) with Nitrospira calida. In addition, Armenian enrichments also contained close relatives of Nitrospira moscoviensis. Physiological properties of all enrichments were similar, with a temperature optimum of 45-50 °C, yielding nitrite oxidation rates of 7.53 ± 1.20 to 23.0 ± 2.73 fmoles cell(-1) h(-1), and an upper temperature limit between 60 and 65 °C. The highest rates of NOB activity occurred with initial NO2 - concentrations of 0.5-0.75 mM; however, lower initial nitrite concentrations resulted in shorter lag times. The results presented here suggest a possible upper temperature limit of 60-65 °C for Nitrospira and demonstrate the wide geographic range of Nitrospira species in geothermal environments.

KEYWORDS:

Nitrospira calida; Nitrospira moscoviensis; geothermal; nitrification; nitrite oxidation; thermophile

PMID:
23528039
DOI:
10.1111/1574-6941.12117
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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