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Title: Nitrite oxidising bacteria in soil : examination of the interactions with ammonia oxidisers and the influence of pH on their diversity and distribution
Author: Meng, Yiyu
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 1992
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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Nitrification is a central part of the nitrogen cycle, whereby the most reduced form, ammonia, is converted to the most oxidised form, nitrate via nitrite. The first step is performed by ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA), with the second step performed by nitrite oxidising bacteria (NOB). Although both groups are closely associated in nature, ammonia oxidisers have received more attention compared to NOB as ammonia oxidation is considered the rate-limiting step. Nitrobacter and Nitrospira are two important groups of soil NOB. To determine whether there are specific associations of AOA or AOB with certain NOB, the effect of organic and inorganic ammonia sources was tested by adding glutamate or ammonium sulphate to soil together with either 5% 12CO2 or 13CO2 to determined autotrophic growth by DNA-SIP. The results demonstrated that while the various ammonia and nitrite oxidisers responded differently, there was no direct evidence of specific coupled interactions. The effects of soil pH on Nitrobacter and Nitrospira was then investigated in a long-term pH gradient in an agricultural field. The results demonstrated that Nitrospira abundance was lower in acidic soils, whereas Nitrobacter abundance remained equally or more abundant. pH also influenced the relative distribution of Nitrobacter and Nitrospira populations, with distinct community structures at both high and low pH. The interaction of AOA and NOB was further investigated in a co-culture experiment, and demonstrated that the removal of nitrite and free nitrous acid NOB enhanced both rates and amounts of ammonia oxidised, indicating that in acidic environments these relationships may be particularly critical. Finally, the use of the compound PTIO was investigated for potential use in elucidating specific relationships between AOA and NOB. Results demonstrated a lack of specificity for the target group, and was unstable in soil, and therefore its use in soil should proceed with caution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nitrifying bacteria ; Hydrogen-ion concentration