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Comammox activity dominates nitrification process in the sediments of plateau wetland
Water Research  (IF11.236),  Pub Date : 2021-10-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117774
Dongdan Yuan, Lei Zheng, Qiuyang Tan, Xue Wang, Yuzi Xing, Huipeng Wang, Shanyun Wang, Guibing Zhu

The recent discovery of complete ammonia oxidation (comammox) has increased our understanding of nitrification. Although comammox has been shown to play an important role in plain wetland ecosystems, studies of comammox contribution are still limited in plateau wetland ecosystems. Here, we analyzed the abundance, activity, community and biogeochemical mechanisms of the comammox bacteria in Yunnan-kweichow and Qinghai-Tibet plateau wetlands from elevations of 1000-5000 m. Comammox bacteria were widely distributed in all 16 sediment samples with abundances higher than 0.96 ± 0.26 × 107 copies g−1 (n = 16). Comammox showed high activity (1.18 ± 0.17 to 1.98 ± 0.08 mg N kg−1 d−1) at high-elevation (3000-5000 m) and dominated the nitrification process (activity contribution: 37.20 - 60.62%). The activity contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (1.07 ± 0.08 to 2.79 ± 0.35 mg N kg−1 d−1) dominated the nitrification process (44.55 - 64.15%) in low-elevation (1000-3000 m) samples. All detected comammox Nitrospira belonged to clade A, while clade B was not detected. Elevation always had a strongest effect on key comammox species. Thus, we infer that elevation may drive the high relative abundance of the species Candidatus Nitrospira nitrificans (avg. 12.40%) and the low relative abundance of the species Nitrospira sp. SG-bin2 (avg. 4.75%) in high-elevation samples that showed a high comammox activity (avg. 1.62 mg N kg−1 d−1) and high contribution (avg. 46.08%) to the nitrification process. These results indicate that comammox may be an important and currently underestimated microbial nitrification process in plateau wetland ecosystems.