Current Microbiology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 56–60 | Cite as

Chemolithoautotrophic Nitrifiers in the Phyllosphere of a Spruce Ecosystem Receiving High Atmospheric Nitrogen Input

  • Hans Papen
  • Arthur Geβler
  • Elisabeth Zumbusch
  • Heinz Rennenberg

Abstract

Evidence is presented for the first time that chemolithoautotrophic ammonia oxidizers (CAO) and chemolithoautotrophic nitrite oxidizers (CNO) colonize in appreciable cell numbers the phyllosphere of spruce trees in a forest ecosystem exposed for decades to high levels of atmospheric nitrogen (The Höglwald Forest, Bavaria, Germany). The results strongly indicate that both, CAO and CNO are predominantely located inside the spruce needles, most likely within the stomatal cavity. These results are further supported by field experiments of NH3 uptake into twigs on intact spruce trees in the presence and absence of 10 Pa acetylene, an inhibitor of the ammonia monooxygenase of CAO. It is clearly demonstrated for the first time that in situ uptake of NH3 from the atmosphere into spruce needles exposed to high levels of atmospheric N is not catalyzed exclusively by the tree, but is the result of combined activities of both, the spruce trees and the chemolithoautotrophic nitrifiers colonizing the needles.

Keywords

Nitrogen Atmosphere Ammonia Nitrite Field Experiment 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Papen
    • 1
  • Arthur Geβler
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Zumbusch
    • 1
  • Heinz Rennenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environmental Research, Department of Soil Microbiology, Kreuzeckbahnstraβe 19, D-82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GermanyDE
  2. 2.University of Freiburg, Chair of Tree Physiology, Georges-Köhler-Allee, Building 53/54, D-79085 Freiburg i. Breisgau, GermanyDE

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