Original paper

Betaproteobacterial ammonia oxidizers in root zones of aquatic macrophytes

Beier, Sara; Kim, Ok-Sun; Junier, Pilar; Bertilsson, Stefan; Witzel, Karl-Paul


Enhanced nitrification and coupled denitrification in macrophyte root zones may contribute to the depletion of nitrogen from the rhizosphere and are both critical processes for agriculture and rhizoremediation. We examined one factor likely to affect these processes: the ammonia oxidizing betaproteobacterial community composition, and whether or not it is influenced by plant species (Eleocharis acicularis, Eleocharis palustris, Typha angustifolia) or sediment characteristics. Genes coding for ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) and 16S rRNA of betaproteobacterial ammonia oxidizers were targeted. The betaproteobacterial ammonia oxidizing community in root surface biofilms was distinct from the surrounding rhizosphere sediment. In contrast, communities in rhizosphere and bulk sediment samples were very similar. Our results showed the occurrence of Nitrosomonas europaea-like bacteria nearly exclusively in the rhizoplane biofilms, while sequences affiliated with the Nitrosomonas oligotropha, Nitrosomonas communis and Nitrosospira-lineages were more frequently detected in the surrounding sediment. Our results further suggest that the presence of N. europaea on macrophyte roots depends on the sampling site rather than on the studied macrophyte species. We propose that the rhizoplane of aquatic macrophytes is a natural habitat for N. europaea.


ammonia oxidizing betaproteobacteriarhizoplanerhizosphere16s rrnaamoanitrosomonas europaea