Enhanced heme protein expression by ammonia-oxidizing communities acclimated to low dissolved oxygen conditions.

Applied microbiology and biotechnology

PubMedID: 23435900

Arnaldos M, Kunkel SA, Stark BC, Pagilla KR. Enhanced heme protein expression by ammonia-oxidizing communities acclimated to low dissolved oxygen conditions. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013;.
This study has investigated the acclimation of ammonia-oxidizing communities (AOC) to low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations. Under controlled laboratory conditions, two sequencing batch reactors seeded with activated sludge from the same source were operated at high DO (near saturation) and low DO (0.1 mg O(2)/L) concentrations for a period of 220 days. The results demonstrated stable and complete nitrification at low DO conditions after an acclimation period of approximately 140 days. Acclimation brought about increased specific oxygen uptake rates and enhanced expression of a particular heme protein in the soluble fraction of the cells in the low DO reactor as compared to the high DO reactor. The induced protein was determined not to be any of the enzymes or electron carriers present in the conventional account of ammonia oxidation in ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). Further research is required to determine the specific nature of the heme protein detected; a preliminary assessment suggests either a type of hemoglobin protein or a lesser-known component of the energy-transducing pathways of AOB. The effect of DO on AOC dynamics was evaluated using the 16S rRNA gene as the basis for phylogenetic comparisons and organism quantification. Ammonium consumption by ammonia-oxidizing archaea and anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria was ruled out by fluorescent in situ hybridization in both reactors. Even though Nitrosomonas europaea was the dominant AOB lineage in both high and low DO sequencing batch reactors at the end of operation, this enrichment could not be linked in the low DO reactor to acclimation to oxygen-limited conditions.