Three populations of nitrifying bacteria, detected simultaneously in a nitrifying sequencing batch biofilm reactor with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) of the Nitrosomonas oligotropha lineage detected by probe Cluster6a192 (Cy5; blue), nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) of Nitrospira sublineage I probe Ntspa1431 (Cy3; red), NOB of Nitrospira sublineage II probe Ntspa1151 (FLUOS; green). Bar = 10 mm. - Source:1Chemoautotroph/Mixotroph
Nitrospira are aerobic chemolithoautotrophic bacteria and considered to be the most common and abundant NOB in wastewater treatment systems 5. They often occur in close association with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria or archaea. In ‘reciprocal feeding’ interactions, Nitrospira can also provide ammonia oxidizers with ammonia released from urea or cyanate, which is further nitrified 16. CO2 is fixed by the reductive citric acid cycle 13. Organics have been shown to enhance growth on nitrite 9, and pyruvate is assimilated in situ 5, but heterotrophic growth has not been observed. Some strains can utilize hydrogen and formate using oxygen or nitrate as terminal electron acceptor. Energy is produced concurrently with aerobic nitrite oxidiation 16. Considered to be K-strategists 10.
Nitrite concentrations are suggested to select for Nitrospira sub-lineages, with sub-lineage I selected for over II at relatively higher levels. Where they co-exist, sub-lineage I were located in significantly closer proximity to the AOB 11.
At least six phylogenetic sublineages of Nitrospira exist. Lineage II is the most widely distributed in both natural and engineered ecosystems 13. All currently known comammox organisms belong to Nitrospira lineage II 16. Sublineages I ("N. moscoviensis-related") and II (N. defluvii-related) are commonly observed in activated sludge 5.
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