Depth-related changes of sediment ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms in a high-altitude freshwater wetland

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Yong Liu, Jingxu Zhang, Xiaoling Zhang, Shuguang Xie*

Abstract: Both ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) might be the key microorganisms in ammonia conversion in ecosystems. However, the depth-related change of AOA and AOB in sediment ecosystem is still not clear. The relative contribution of AOA and AOB to nitrification in wetland sediment remains also unclear. Moreover, information about ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms in high-altitude freshwater wetland is still lacking. The present study investigated the relative abundances and community structures of AOA and AOB in sediments of a high-altitude freshwater wetland in Yunnan Province (China). Variations of the relative abundances and community structures of AOA and AOB were found in the wetland sediments, dependent on both sampling site and sediment depth. The relative abundances of AOA and AOB (0.04%–3.84% and 0.01%–0.52%) and the AOA/AOB ratio (0.12–4.65) showed different depth-related change patterns. AOB community size was usually larger than AOA community size. AOB diversity was usually higher than AOA diversity. AOA diversity decreased with the increase of sediment depth, while AOB diversity showed no obvious link with the sediment depth. Pearson’s correlation analysis showed AOA diversity had a positive significant correlation with available phosphorus. Nitrosospira-like sequences, with different compositions, predominated in the wetland sediment AOB communities. This work could provide some new insights towards nitrification in freshwater sediment ecosystems.

Keywords: Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB); Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA); Freshwater; Nitrification; Sediment; Wetland