Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 22, pp 9875–9883 | Cite as

Using the variation of anammox bacteria community structures as a bio-indicator for anthropogenic/terrestrial nitrogen inputs in the Pearl River Delta (PRD)

  • Meng Li
  • Huiluo Cao
  • Yiguo Hong
  • Ji-Dong Gu
Environmental biotechnology


The variation of anammox bacteria community composition was evaluated in sediments collected from the Pearl River Delta area with an anthropogenic/terrestrial input gradient. Results indicated that the community composition of anammox bacteria shifted from estuarine environment to the South China Sea deep ocean along with the anthropogenic/terrestrial input gradient, where Scalindua genus of anammox bacteria predominated in the area with less anthropogenic/terrestrial influences, such as in the open oceanic area, while genera of Kuenenia/Brocadia anammox bacteria have higher proportions in the area with higher anthropogenic/terrestrial impacts. The canonical correspondence analysis demonstrated that salinity, organic matter contents, and ratio of NH4 + to (NO2 +NO3 ) strongly affected the shifting of anammox bacterial community compositions within the same gradients. The results obtained in this study, together with the similar variation of anammox bacteria community structures in other several estuaries in the world, indicated that anammox bacteria might have a habitat-specific distribution pattern according to their living habits, and their community composition could be served as a bio-indicator to monitor the anthropogenic/terrestrial N inputs in coastal environments.


Anammox bacteria Community structure Bio-indicator Anthropogenic/terrestrial nitrogen inputs Pearl River Delta 



This research was supported by a PhD studentship (M.L.), Environmental and Conservation Fund grant no. 15/2011(J-DG), South China Sea Open Cruise by R/V Shiyan 3, and South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, CAS. We thank Jessie Lai for general laboratory support at The University of Hong Kong during this study.

Supplementary material

253_2013_4990_MOESM1_ESM.doc (105 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 105 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Environment Dynamics (LED), South China Sea Institute of OceanographyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.The Swire Institute of Marine ScienceThe University of Hong KongHong KongPeople’s Republic of China

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