Publications in peer reviewed journals

6 Publications found
  • Nitrification in acidic and alkaline environments

    Ni G, Leung PM, Daebeler A, Guo J, Hu S, Cook P, Nicol GW, Daims H, Greening C
    2023 - Essays Biochem, in press


    Aerobic nitrification is a key process in the global nitrogen cycle mediated by microorganisms. While nitrification has primarily been studied in near-neutral environments, this process occurs at a wide range of pH values, spanning ecosystems from acidic soils to soda lakes. Aerobic nitrification primarily occurs through the activities of ammonia-oxidising bacteria and archaea, nitrite-oxidising bacteria, and complete ammonia-oxidising (comammox) bacteria adapted to these environments. Here, we review the literature and identify knowledge gaps on the metabolic diversity, ecological distribution, and physiological adaptations of nitrifying microorganisms in acidic and alkaline environments. We emphasise that nitrifying microorganisms depend on a suite of physiological adaptations to maintain pH homeostasis, acquire energy and carbon sources, detoxify reactive nitrogen species, and generate a membrane potential at pH extremes. We also recognize the broader implications of their activities primarily in acidic environments, with a focus on agricultural productivity and nitrous oxide emissions, as well as promising applications in treating municipal wastewater.

  • Hot spring distribution and survival mechanisms of thermophilic comammox Nitrospira

    Zhang Y, Liu T, Li MM, Hua Z-S, Evans P, Qu Y, Tan S, Zheng M, Lu H, Jiao J-Y, Lücker S, Daims H, Li W-J, Guo J
    2023 - ISME J., 17: 993-1003


    The recent discovery of Nitrospira species capable of complete ammonia oxidation (comammox) in non-marine natural and engineered ecosystems under mesothermal conditions has changed our understanding of microbial nitrification. However, little is known about the occurrence of comammox bacteria or their ability to survive in moderately thermal and/or hyperthermal habitats. Here, we report the wide distribution of comammox Nitrospira in five terrestrial hot springs at temperatures ranging from 36 to 80°C and provide metagenome-assembled genomes of 11 new comammox strains. Interestingly, the identification of dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) in thermophilic comammox Nitrospira lineages suggests that they have versatile ecological functions as both sinks and sources of ammonia, in contrast to the described mesophilic comammox lineages, which lack the DNRA pathway. Furthermore, the in situ expression of key genes associated with nitrogen metabolism, thermal adaptation, and oxidative stress confirmed their ability to survive in the studied hot springs and their contribution to nitrification in these environments. Additionally, the smaller genome size and higher GC content, less polar and more charged amino acids in usage profiles, and the expression of a large number of heat shock proteins compared to mesophilic comammox strains presumably confer tolerance to thermal stress. These novel insights into the occurrence, metabolic activity, and adaptation of comammox Nitrospira in thermal habitats further expand our understanding of the global distribution of comammox Nitrospira and have significant implications for how these unique microorganisms have evolved thermal tolerance strategies.

  • Complete genome sequence of Nitrospina watsonii 347, isolated from the Black Sea

    Kop LFM, Koch H, Spieck E, van Alen T, Cremers G, Daims H, Lücker L
    2023 - Microbiol Resour Announc, 12: e0007823


    Here, we present the complete genome sequence of Nitrospina watsonii 347, a nitrite-oxidizing bacterium isolated from the Black Sea at a depth of 100 m. The genome has a length of 3,011,914 bp with 2,895 predicted coding sequences. Its predicted metabolism is similar to that of Nitrospina gracilis with differences in defense against reactive oxygen species.

  • Taurine as a key intermediate for host-symbiont interaction in the tropical sponge Ianthella basta.

    Moeller FU, Herbold CW, Schintlmeister A, Mooshammer M, Motti C, Glasl B, Kitzinger K, Behnam F, Watzka M, Schweder T, Albertsen M, Richter A, Webster NS, Wagner M
    2023 - ISME J, in press
    sponge Ianthella basta microbiome


    Marine sponges are critical components of marine benthic fauna assemblages, where their filter-feeding and reef-building capabilities provide bentho-pelagic coupling and crucial habitat. As potentially the oldest representation of a metazoan-microbe symbiosis, they also harbor dense, diverse, and species-specific communities of microbes, which are increasingly recognized for their contributions to dissolved organic matter (DOM) processing. Recent omics-based studies of marine sponge microbiomes have proposed numerous pathways of dissolved metabolite exchange between the host and symbionts within the context of the surrounding environment, but few studies have sought to experimentally interrogate these pathways. By using a combination of metaproteogenomics and laboratory incubations coupled with isotope-based functional assays, we showed that the dominant gammaproteobacterial symbiont, 'Candidatus Taurinisymbion ianthellae', residing in the marine sponge, Ianthella basta, expresses a pathway for the import and dissimilation of taurine, a ubiquitously occurring sulfonate metabolite in marine sponges. 'Candidatus Taurinisymbion ianthellae' incorporates taurine-derived carbon and nitrogen while, at the same time, oxidizing the dissimilated sulfite into sulfate for export. Furthermore, we found that taurine-derived ammonia is exported by the symbiont for immediate oxidation by the dominant ammonia-oxidizing thaumarchaeal symbiont, 'Candidatus Nitrosospongia ianthellae'. Metaproteogenomic analyses also suggest that 'Candidatus Taurinisymbion ianthellae' imports DMSP and possesses both pathways for DMSP demethylation and cleavage, enabling it to use this compound as a carbon and sulfur source for biomass, as well as for energy conservation. These results highlight the important role of biogenic sulfur compounds in the interplay between Ianthella basta and its microbial symbionts.

  • Rapid nitrification involving comammox and canonical Nitrospira at extreme pH in saline-alkaline lakes.

    Daebeler A, Güell-Bujons Q, Mooshammer M, Zechmeister T, Herbold CW, Richter A, Wagner M, Daims H
    2023 - Environ Microbiol, 25: 1055-1067


    Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) catalyse the second nitrification step and are the main biological source of nitrate. The most diverse and widespread NOB genus is Nitrospira, which also contains complete ammonia oxidizers (comammox) that oxidize ammonia to nitrate. To date, little is known about the occurrence and biology of comammox and canonical nitrite oxidizing Nitrospira in extremely alkaline environments. Here, we studied the seasonal distribution and diversity, and the effect of short-term pH changes on comammox and canonical Nitrospira in sediments of two saline, highly alkaline lakes. We identified diverse canonical and comammox Nitrospira clade A-like phylotypes as the only detectable NOB during more than a year, suggesting their major importance for nitrification in these habitats. Gross nitrification rates measured in microcosm incubations were highest at pH 10 and considerably faster than reported for other natural, aquatic environments. Nitrification could be attributed to canonical and comammox Nitrospira and to Nitrososphaerales ammonia-oxidizing archaea. Furthermore, our data suggested that comammox Nitrospira contributed to ammonia oxidation at an extremely alkaline pH of 11. These results identify saline, highly alkaline lake sediments as environments of uniquely strong nitrification with novel comammox Nitrospira as key microbial players.

  • Metabolic reconstruction of the near complete microbiome of the model sponge Ianthella basta.

    Engelberts JP, Robbins SJ, Herbold CW, Moeller FU, Jehmlich N, Laffy PW, Wagner M, Webster NS
    2023 - Environ Microbiol, 3: 646-660
    Ianthella basta microbiome


    Many marine sponges host highly diverse microbiomes that contribute to various aspects of host health. Although the putative function of individual groups of sponge symbionts has been increasingly described, the extreme diversity has generally precluded in-depth characterization of entire microbiomes, including identification of syntrophic partnerships. The Indo-Pacific sponge Ianthella basta is emerging as a model organism for symbiosis research, hosting only three dominant symbionts: a Thaumarchaeotum, a Gammaproteobacterium, and an Alphaproteobacterium and a range of other low abundance or transitory taxa. Here, we retrieved metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) representing >90% of I. basta's microbial community, facilitating the metabolic reconstruction of the sponge's near complete microbiome. Through this analysis, we identified metabolic complementarity between microbes, including vitamin sharing, described the importance of low abundance symbionts, and characterized a novel microbe-host attachment mechanism in the Alphaproteobacterium. We further identified putative viral sequences, highlighting the role viruses can play in maintaining symbioses in I. basta through the horizontal transfer of eukaryotic-like proteins, and complemented this data with metaproteomics to identify active metabolic pathways in bacteria, archaea, and viruses. This data provide the framework to adopt I. basta as a model organism for studying host-microbe interactions and provide a basis for in-depth physiological experiments.

Book chapters and other publications

No matching database entries were found.