Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 150, Issue 4, pp 387–393

Effect of adhesion to particles on the survival and activity of Nitrosomonas sp. and Nitrobacter sp.

  • Shaher Diab
  • Moshe Shilo
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00408312

Cite this article as:
Diab, S. & Shilo, M. Arch. Microbiol. (1988) 150: 387. doi:10.1007/BF00408312


The adhesion of Nitrosomonas sp. and Nitrobacter sp. cells isolated from fishpond sediment to different solid particles was studied. Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter cells rapidly attached to particles of bentonite, calcium carbonate, amberlite, and fishpond sediment, however they did not adhere to phenyl-sepharose beads. The nitrifying activity of attached bacteria was greater than the activity of freely suspended cells or the activity of cells which have been detached from CaCO3 particles. The enhancement in the nitrifying activity was rapid and was already observed within the first hour after attachment (which equals only 1/24 to 1/50 of the generation time of Nitrosomonas sp. or Nitrobacter sp. In addition, the survival of the attached bacteria under both anaerobic and under aerobic incubation was extended to weeks, compared to only a few days for the free cells. The presence of substrate (ammonia or nitrite) during the anaerobic incubation period was found not to affect the survival time of the bacteria. Finally, it was found that the attachment of Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter cells to CaCO3 particles affected the dispersal and sinking rate of these particles.

Key words

Fishpond sedimentBacterial adhesionNitrification ratesSturvival of nitrifyersNitrosomonasNitrobacter

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaher Diab
    • 1
  • Moshe Shilo
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Microbial and Molecular Ecology, Institute of Life SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael