The Predominance of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea in an Oceanic Microbial Community Amended with Cyanobacterial Lysate

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Jan 9:e0240522. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.02405-22. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

When the oligotrophic microbial community was amended with Synechococcus-derived dissolved organic matter (SDOM) and incubated under the dark condition, archaea relative abundance was initially very low but made up more than 60% of the prokaryotic community on day 60, and remained dominant for at least 9 months. The archaeal sequences were dominated by Candidatus Nitrosopumilus, the Group I.1a Thaumarchaeota. The increase of Thaumarchaeota in the dark incubation corresponded to the period of delayed ammonium oxidation upon an initially steady increase in ammonia, supporting the remarkable competency of Thaumarchaeota in energy utilization and fixation of inorganic carbon in the ocean. IMPORTANCE Thaumarchaeota, which are ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), are mainly chemolithoautotrophs that can fix inorganic carbon to produce organic matter in the dark. Their distinctive physiological traits and high abundance in the water column indicate the significant ecological roles they play in the open ocean. In our study, we found predominant Thaumarchaeota in the microbial community amended with cyanobacteria-derived lysate under the dark condition. Furthermore, Thaumarchaeota remained dominant in the microbial community even after 1 year of incubation. Through the ammonification process, dissolved organic matter (DOM) from cyanobacterial lysate was converted to ammonium which was used as an energy source for Thaumarchaeota to fix inorganic carbon into biomass. Our study further advocates the important roles of Thaumarchaeota in the ocean’s biogeochemical cycle.

PMID:36622233 | DOI:10.1128/spectrum.02405-22

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