A multi-proxy study of anaerobic ammonium oxidation in marine sediments of the Gullmar Fjord, Sweden
Journal article, 2011
Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) is an important process for nitrogen removal in marine pelagic and benthic environments and represents a major sink in the global nitrogen cycle. We applied a suite of complementary methods for the detection and enumeration of anammox activity and anammox bacteria in marine sediments of the Gullmar Fjord, and compared the results obtained with each technique. 15N labelling experiments showed that nitrogen removal through N2 production was essentially limited to the upper 2 cm of the sediment, where anammox contributed 23–47% of the total production. The presence of marine anammox bacteria belonging to the genus ‘Candidatus Scalindua’ was shown by 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison. FISH counts of anammox bacteria correlated well with anammox activity, while quantitative PCR may have underestimated the number of anammox bacterial 16S rRNA gene copies at this site. Potential nitrogen conversion by anammox ranged from 0.6 to 4.8 fmol N cell−1 day−1, in agreement with previous measurements in the marine environment and in bioreactors. Finally, intact ladderane glycerophospholipid concentrations better reflected anammox activity and abundance than ladderane core lipid concentrations, most likely because the core lipid fraction contained a substantial fossil component, especially deeper in the sediment.