Links between species diversity of ammonia oxidising bacteria and pH
Our ability to analyse natural microbial populations has recently been revolutionised by the application of 16S rDNA-based techniques. These techniques have proven particularly appropriate for ammonia oxidising bacteria, which carry out the initial and rate-determining step in nitrification. The strong effect of pH on ammonia oxidisers has been well documented; growth in liquid batch culture rarely occurs at pH values below 6.5 but autotrophic nitrification can occur in acidic soils. This study aims to examine the effects of pH in ammonia oxidisers in soil and laboratory culture. We employ both molecular techniques and traditional physiological investigations to examine community dynamics of Nitrosospira strains of the ammonia oxidising bacteria, and the links between species diversity and functional diversity.