A microdiversity study of anammox bacteria reveals a novel Candidatus Scalindua phylotype in marine oxygen minimum zones.

Research paper by Dagmar D Woebken, Phyllis P Lam, Marcel M M MM Kuypers, S Wajih A SW Naqvi, Boran B Kartal, Marc M Strous, Mike S M MS Jetten, Bernhard M BM Fuchs, Rudolf R Amann

Indexed on: 31 May '08Published on: 31 May '08Published in: Environmental Microbiology


The anaerobic oxidation of ammonium (anammox) contributes significantly to the global loss of fixed nitrogen and is carried out by a deep branching monophyletic group of bacteria within the phylum Planctomycetes. Various studies have implicated anammox to be the most important process responsible for the nitrogen loss in the marine oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) with a low diversity of marine anammox bacteria. This comprehensive study investigated the anammox bacteria in the suboxic zone of the Black Sea and in three major OMZs (off Namibia, Peru and in the Arabian Sea). The diversity and population composition of anammox bacteria were investigated by both, the 16S rRNA gene sequences and the 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS). Our results showed that the anammox bacterial sequences of the investigated samples were all closely related to the Candidatus Scalindua genus. However, a greater microdiversity of marine anammox bacteria than previously assumed was observed. Both phylogenetic markers supported the classification of all sequences in two distinct anammox bacterial phylotypes: Candidatus Scalindua clades 1 and 2. Scalindua 1 could be further divided into four distinct clusters, all comprised of sequences from either the Namibian or the Peruvian OMZ. Scalindua 2 consisted of sequences from the Arabian Sea and the Peruvian OMZ and included one previously published 16S rRNA gene sequence from Lake Tanganyika and one from South China Sea sediment (97.9-99.4% sequence identity). This cluster showed only <or= 97% sequence identity to other known Candidatus Scalindua species. Based on 16S rRNA gene and ITS sequences we propose that the anammox bacteria of Scalindua clade 2 represent a novel anammox bacterial species, for which the name Candidatus Scalindua arabica is proposed. As sequences of this new cluster were found in the Arabian Sea, the Peruvian OMZ, in Lake Tanganyika and in South China sediment, we assume a global distribution of Candidatus Scalindua arabica as it is observed for Candidatus Scalindua sorokinii/brodae (or Scalindua clade 1).