Lake Tanganyika (LT) is the largest tropical freshwater lake, and the largest body of anoxic freshwater on Earth’s surface. LT’s mixed oxygenated surface waters float atop a permanently anoxic layer and host rich animal biodiversity. However, little is known about microorganisms inhabiting LT’s 1470 meter deep water column and their contributions to nutrient cycling, which affect ecosystem-level function and productivity. Here, we applied genome-resolved metagenomics and environmental analyses to link specific taxa to key biogeochemical processes across a vertical depth gradient in LT. We reconstructed 523 unique metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from 34 bacterial and archaeal phyla, including many rarely observed in freshwater lakes. We identified sharp contrasts in community composition and metabolic potential with an abundance of typical freshwater taxa in oxygenated mixed upper layers, and Archaea and uncultured Candidate Phyla in deep anoxic waters. Genomic capacity for nitrogen and sulfur cycling was abundant in MAGs recovered from anoxic waters, highlighting microbial contributions to the productive surface layers via recycling of upwelled nutrients, and greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide. Overall, our study provides a blueprint for incorporation of aquatic microbial genomics in the representation of tropical freshwater lakes, especially in the context of ongoing climate change, which is predicted to bring increased stratification and anoxia to freshwater lakes.
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Giovannoni, Stephen J.
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
ABSTRACT Ammonia availability due to chloramination can promote the growth of nitrifying organisms, which can deplete chloramine residuals and result in operational problems for drinking water utilities. In this study, we used a metagenomic approach to determine the identity and functional potential of microorganisms involved in nitrogen biotransformation within chloraminated drinking water reservoirs. Spatial changes in the nitrogen species included an increase in nitrate concentrations accompanied by a decrease in ammonium concentrations with increasing distance from the site of chloramination. This nitrifying activity was likely driven by canonical ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (i.e., Nitrosomonas ) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (i.e., Nitrospira ) as well as by complete-ammonia-oxidizing (i.e., comammox) Nitrospira -like bacteria. Functional annotation was used to evaluate genes associated with nitrogen metabolism, and the community gene catalogue contained mostly genes involved in nitrification, nitrate and nitrite reduction, and nitric oxide reduction. Furthermore, we assembled 47 high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) representing a highly diverse assemblage of bacteria. Of these, five MAGs showed high coverage across all samples, which included two Nitrosomonas, Nitrospira, Sphingomonas , and Rhizobiales -like MAGs. Systematic genome-level analyses of these MAGs in relation to nitrogen metabolism suggest that under ammonia-limited conditions, nitrate may be also reduced back to ammonia for assimilation. Alternatively, nitrate may be reduced to nitric oxide and may potentially play a role in regulating biofilm formation. Overall, this study provides insight into the microbial communities and their nitrogen metabolism and, together with the water chemistry data, improves our understanding of nitrogen biotransformation in chloraminated drinking water distribution systems. IMPORTANCE Chloramines are often used as a secondary disinfectant when free chlorine residuals are difficult to maintain. However, chloramination is often associated with the undesirable effect of nitrification, which results in operational problems for many drinking water utilities. The introduction of ammonia during chloramination provides a potential source of nitrogen either through the addition of excess ammonia or through chloramine decay. This promotes the growth of nitrifying microorganisms and provides a nitrogen source (i.e., nitrate) for the growth for other organisms. While the roles of canonical ammonia-oxidizing and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in chloraminated drinking water systems have been extensively investigated, those studies have largely adopted a targeted gene-centered approach. Further, little is known about the potential long-term cooccurrence of complete-ammonia-oxidizing (i.e., comammox) bacteria and the potential metabolic synergies of nitrifying organisms with their heterotrophic counterparts that are capable of denitrification and nitrogen assimilation. This study leveraged data obtained for genome-resolved metagenomics over a time series to show that while nitrifying bacteria are dominant and likely to play a major role in nitrification, their cooccurrence with heterotrophic organisms suggests that nitric oxide production and nitrate reduction to ammonia may also occur in chloraminated drinking water systems.more » « less
Hopanoid lipids, bacteriohopanols and bacteriohopanepolyols, are membrane components exclusive to bacteria. Together with their diagenetic derivatives, they are commonly used as biomarkers for specific bacterial groups or biogeochemical processes in the geologic record. However, the sources of hopanoids to marine and freshwater environments remain inadequately constrained. Recent marker gene studies suggest a widespread potential for hopanoid biosynthesis in marine bacterioplankton, including nitrifying (i.e., ammonia‐ and nitrite‐oxidizing) bacteria. To explore their hopanoid biosynthetic capacities, we studied the distribution of hopanoid biosynthetic genes in the genomes of cultivated and uncultivated ammonia‐oxidizing (AOB), nitrite‐oxidizing (NOB), and complete ammonia‐oxidizing (comammox) bacteria, finding that biosynthesis of diverse hopanoids is common among seven of the nine presently cultivated clades of nitrifying bacteria. Hopanoid biosynthesis genes are also conserved among the diverse lineages of bacterial nitrifiers detected in environmental metagenomes. We selected seven representative NOB isolated from marine, freshwater, and engineered environments for phenotypic characterization. All tested NOB produced diverse types of hopanoids, with some NOB producing primarily diploptene and others producing primarily bacteriohopanepolyols. Relative and absolute abundances of hopanoids were distinct among the cultures and dependent on growth conditions, such as oxygen and nitrite limitation. Several novel nitrogen‐containing bacteriohopanepolyols were tentatively identified, of which the so called BHP‐743.6 was present in all NOB. Distinct carbon isotopic signatures of biomass, hopanoids, and fatty acids in four tested NOB suggest operation of the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle in
Nitrospiraspp. and Nitrospina gracilisand of the Calvin–Benson–Bassham cycle for carbon fixation in Nitrobacter vulgarisand Nitrococcus mobilis. We suggest that the contribution of hopanoids by NOB to environmental samples could be estimated by their carbon isotopic compositions. The ubiquity of nitrifying bacteria in the ocean today and the antiquity of this metabolic process suggest the potential for significant contributions to the geologic record of hopanoids.
Abstract Complete ammonia oxidizing bacteria coexist with canonical ammonia and nitrite oxidizing bacteria in a wide range of environments. Whether this is due to competitive or cooperative interactions, or a result of niche separation is not yet clear. Understanding the factors driving coexistence of nitrifiers is critical to manage nitrification processes occurring in engineered and natural ecosystems. In this study, microcosm-based experiments were used to investigate the impact of nitrogen source and loading on the population dynamics of nitrifiers in drinking water biofilter media. Shotgun sequencing of DNA followed by co-assembly and reconstruction of metagenome assembled genomes revealed clade A2 comammox bacteria were likely the primary nitrifiers within microcosms and increased in abundance over Nitrosomonas-like ammonia and Nitrospira-like nitrite oxidizing bacteria irrespective of nitrogen source type or loading. Changes in comammox bacterial abundance did not correlate with either ammonia or nitrite oxidizing bacterial abundance in urea-amended systems, where metabolic reconstruction indicated potential for cross-feeding between strict ammonia and nitrite oxidizers. In contrast, comammox bacterial abundance demonstrated a negative correlation with nitrite oxidizers in ammonia-amended systems. This suggests potentially weaker synergistic relationships between strict ammonia and nitrite oxidizers might enable comammox bacteria to displace strict nitrite oxidizers from complex nitrifying communities.more » « less
Nitrifying microorganisms, including ammonia‐oxidizing archaea, ammonia‐oxidizing bacteria, and nitrite‐oxidizing bacteria, are the most abundant chemoautotrophs in the ocean and play an important role in the global carbon cycle by fixing dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) into biomass. The release of organic compounds by these microbes is not well quantified, but may represent an as‐yet unaccounted source of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) available to marine food webs. Here, we provide measurements of cellular carbon and nitrogen quotas, DIC fixation yields and DOC release of 10 phylogenetically diverse marine nitrifiers. All investigated strains released DOC during growth, representing on average 5–15% of the fixed DIC. Changes in substrate concentration and temperature did not affect the proportion of fixed DIC released as DOC, but release rates varied between closely related species. Our results also indicate previous studies may have underestimated DIC fixation yields of marine nitrite oxidizers due to partial decoupling of nitrite oxidation from CO2fixation, and due to lower observed yields in artificial compared to natural seawater medium. The results of this study provide critical values for biogeochemical models of the global carbon cycle, and help to further constrain the implications of nitrification‐fueled chemoautotrophy for marine food‐web functioning and the biological sequestration of carbon in the ocean.