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Nitrate reduction functional genes and nitrate reduction potentials persist in deeper estuarine sediments why?

Papaspyrou, S and Smith, CJ and Dong, LF and Whitby, C and Dumbrell, AJ and Nedwell, DB (2014) 'Nitrate reduction functional genes and nitrate reduction potentials persist in deeper estuarine sediments why?' PLoS ONE, 9 (4). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) are processes occurring simultaneously under oxygen-limited or anaerobic conditions, where both compete for nitrate and organic carbon. Despite their ecological importance, there has been little investigation of how denitrification and DNRA potentials and related functional genes vary vertically with sediment depth. Nitrate reduction potentials measured in sediment depth profiles along the Colne estuary were in the upper range of nitrate reduction rates reported from other sediments and showed the existence of strong decreasing trends both with increasing depth and along the estuary. Denitrification potential decreased along the estuary, decreasing more rapidly with depth towards the estuary mouth. In contrast, DNRA potential increased along the estuary. Significant decreases in copy numbers of 16S rRNA and nitrate reducing genes were observed along the estuary and from surface to deeper sediments. Both metabolic potentials and functional genes persisted at sediment depths where porewater nitrate was absent. Transport of nitrate by bioturbation, based on macrofauna distributions, could only account for the upper 10 cm depth of sediment. A several fold higher combined freeze-lysable KCl-extractable nitrate pool compared to porewater nitrate was detected. We hypothesised that his could be attributed to intracellular nitrate pools from nitrate accumulating microorganisms like Thioploca or Beggiatoa. However, pyrosequencing analysis did not detect any such organisms, leaving other bacteria, microbenthic algae, or foraminiferans which have also been shown to accumulate nitrate, as possible candidates. The importance and bioavailability of a KCl-extractable nitrate sediment pool remains to be tested. The significant variation in the vertical pattern and abundance of the various nitrate reducing genes phylotypes reasonably suggests differences in their activity throughout the sediment column. This raises interesting questions as to what the alternative metabolic roles for the various nitrate reductases could be, analogous to the alternative metabolic roles found for nitrite reductases. © 2014 Papaspyrou et al.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2014 12:25
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2019 22:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10214

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