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Journal Article

In situ substrate conversion and assimilation by nitrifying bacteria in a model biofilm

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Gieseke,  A.
Permanent Research Group Microsensor, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Amann,  R.
Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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de Beer,  D.
Permanent Research Group Microsensor, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Gieseke, A., Nielsen, J. L., Amann, R., Nielsen, P. H., & de Beer, D. (2005). In situ substrate conversion and assimilation by nitrifying bacteria in a model biofilm. Environmental Microbiology, 7(9), 1392-1404.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D003-0
Abstract
Local nitrification and carbon assimilation activities were studied in situ in a model biofilm to investigate carbon yields and contribution of distinct populations to these activities. Immobilized microcolonies (related to Nitrosomonas europaea/eutropha, Nitrosomonas oligotropha, Nitrospira sp., and to other Bacteria) were incubated with [14C]‐bicarbonate under different experimental conditions. Nitrifying activity was measured concomitantly with microsensors (oxygen, ammonium, nitrite, nitrate). Biofilm thin sections were subjected to fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), microautoradiography (MAR), and local quantification of [14C]‐bicarbonate uptake (beta microimaging). Nitrifying activity and tracer assimilation were restricted to a surface layer of different thickness in the various experiments (substrate or oxygen limitation). Excess oxygen uptake under all conditions revealed heterotrophic activity fuelled by decay or excretion products during active nitrification. Depth limits and intensity of tracer incorporation profiles were in agreement with ammonia‐oxidation activity (measured with microsensors), and distribution of incorporated tracer (detected with MAR). Microautoradiography revealed a sharp individual response of distinct populations in terms of in‐/activity depending on the (local) environmental conditions within the biofilm. Net in situ carbon yields on N, expressed as e– equivalent ratios, varied between 0.005 and 0.018, and, thus, were in the lower range of data reported for pure cultures of nitrifiers.