The present study investigated the phylogenetic affiliation and physiological characteristics of bacteria responsible for anaerobic ammonium oxidization (anammox); these bacteria were enriched in an anammox reactor with a nitrogen removal rate of 26.0 kg N m−3day−1. The anammox bacteria were identified as representing ‘CandidatusBrocadia sinica’ on the basis of phylogenetic analysis of rRNA operon sequences. Physiological characteristics examined were growth rate, kinetics of ammonium oxidation and nitrite reduction, temperature, pH and inhibition of anammox. The maximum specific growth rate (μmax) was 0.0041 h−1, corresponding to a doubling time of 7 days. The half-saturation constants (Ks) for ammonium and nitrite of ‘Ca.B. sinica’ were 28±4 and 86±4 µM, respectively, higher than those of ‘CandidatusBrocadia anammoxidans’ and ‘CandidatusKuenenia stuttgartiensis’. The temperature and pH ranges of anammox activity were 25–45 °C and pH 6.5–8.8, respectively. Anammox activity was inhibited in the presence of nitrite (50 % inhibition at 16 mM), ethanol (91 % at 1 mM) and methanol (86 % at 1 mM). Anammox activities were 80 and 70 % of baseline in the presence of 20 mM phosphorus and 3 % salinity, respectively. The yield of biomass and dissolved organic carbon production in the culture supernatant were 0.062 and 0.005 mol C (molNH4+)−1, respectively. This study compared physiological differences between three anammox bacterial enrichment cultures to provide a better understanding of anammox niche specificity in natural and man-made ecosystems.
The anaerobic nitrite-reducing methanotroph ‘CandidatusMethylomirabilis oxyfera’ (‘Ca.M. oxyfera’) produces oxygen from nitrite by a novel pathway. The major part of the O2is used for methane activation and oxidation, which proceeds by the route well known for aerobic methanotrophs. Residual oxygen may serve other purposes, such as respiration. We have found that the genome of ‘Ca.M. oxyfera’ harbours four sets of genes encoding terminal respiratory oxidases: two cytochromecoxidases, a third putativebo-type ubiquinol oxidase, and a cyanide-insensitive alternative oxidase. Illumina sequencing of reverse-transcribed total community RNA and quantitative real-time RT-PCR showed that all four sets of genes were transcribed, albeit at low levels. Oxygen-uptake and inhibition experiments, UV–visible absorption spectral characteristics and EPR spectroscopy of solubilized membranes showed that only one of the four oxidases is functionally produced by ‘Ca.M. oxyfera’, notably the membrane-boundbo-type terminal oxidase. These findings open a new role for terminal respiratory oxidases in anaerobic systems, and are an additional indication of the flexibility of terminal oxidases, of which the distribution among anaerobic micro-organisms may be largely underestimated.
The symbioses between cellulose-degrading flagellates and bacteria are one of the most fascinating phenomena in the complex micro-ecosystem found in the hindgut of lower termites. However, little is known about the identity of the symbionts. One example is the epibiotic bacteria colonizing the surface of hypermastigote protists of the genusStaurojoenina. By using scanning electron microscopy, it was shown that the whole surface ofStaurojoeninasp. from the termiteNeotermes cubanusis densely covered with long rod-shaped bacteria of uniform size and morphology. PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes from isolated protozoa and subsequent cloning yielded a uniform collection of clones with virtually identical sequences. Phylogenetic analysis placed them as a new lineage among theBacteroidales, only distantly related to other uncultivated bacteria in the hindgut of other termites, including an epibiont of the flagellateMixotricha paradoxa. The closest cultivated relative wasTannerella forsythensis(<85 % sequence identity). Fluorescencein situhybridization with a newly designed clone-specific oligonucleotide probe confirmed that these sequences belong to the rod-shaped epibionts ofStaurojoeninasp. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of a Gram-negative cell wall and revealed special attachment sites for the symbionts on the cell envelope of the flagellate host. Based on the isolated phylogenetic position and the specific association with the surface ofStaurojoeninasp., we propose to classify this new taxon ofBacteroidalesunder the provisional name ‘CandidatusVestibaculum illigatum’.