Author(s): Juretschko S, Timmermann G, Schmid M, Schleifer KH, PommereningRser A,
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Abstract The ammonia-oxidizing and nitrite-oxidizing bacterial populations occurring in the nitrifying activated sludge of an industrial wastewater treatment plant receiving sewage with high ammonia concentrations were studied by use of a polyphasic approach. In situ hybridization with a set of hierarchical 16S rRNA-targeted probes for ammonia-oxidizing bacteria revealed the dominance of Nitrosococcus mobilis-like bacteria. The phylogenetic affiliation suggested by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) was confirmed by isolation of N. mobilis as the numerically dominant ammonia oxidizer and subsequent comparative 16S rRNA gene (rDNA) sequence and DNA-DNA hybridization analyses. For molecular fine-scale analysis of the ammonia-oxidizing population, a partial stretch of the gene encoding the active-site polypeptide of ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) was amplified from total DNA extracted from ammonia oxidizer isolates and from activated sludge. However, comparative sequence analysis of 13 amoA clone sequences from activated sludge demonstrated that these sequences were highly similar to each other and to the corresponding amoA gene fragments of Nitrosomonas europaea Nm50 and the N. mobilis isolate. The unexpected high sequence similarity between the amoA gene fragments of the N. mobilis isolate and N. europaea indicates a possible lateral gene transfer event. Although a Nitrobacter strain was isolated, members of the nitrite-oxidizing genus Nitrobacter were not detectable in the activated sludge by in situ hybridization. Therefore, we used the rRNA approach to investigate the abundance of other well-known nitrite-oxidizing bacterial genera. Three different methods were used for DNA extraction from the activated sludge. For each DNA preparation, almost full-length genes encoding small-subunit rRNA were separately amplified and used to generate three 16S rDNA libraries. By comparative sequence analysis, 2 of 60 randomly selected clones could be assigned to the nitrite-oxidizing bacteria of the genus Nitrospira. Based on these clone sequences, a specific 16S rRNA-targeted probe was developed. FISH of the activated sludge with this probe demonstrated that Nitrospira-like bacteria were present in significant numbers (9\% of the total bacterial counts) and frequently occurred in coaggregated microcolonies with N. mobilis.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development