Detection and Quantification of Bacteria Involved in Aerobic and Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation in an Ammonium-Contaminated Aquifer
The aerobic and anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacterial guilds were studied from two multilevel samplers in an ammonium-contaminated aquifer in the UK. By end point polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the presence of betaproteobacterial ammonium-oxidizing bacteria and anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) planctomycetes was demonstrated. The sequences of cloned anammox-specific PCR fragments had close relationships with known anammox strains. Real-time PCR was subsequently used to determine the relative size of betaproteobacterial ammonium-oxidizing bacteria and anammox bacterial guilds in relation to the whole bacterial community, showing large differences between the two multilevel samplers. The depth profiles of the guild sizes correlated well with the profiles of the major geochemical parameters such as ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, and oxygen. A maximum of, 24% of anammox planctomycetes, 16S rRNA gene copies within the total bacterial, 16S rRNA gene copies in one of the boreholes indicated that the anammox process could have an important contribution in the natural attenuation of the ammonium plume at the site.