Effects of temperature, ph, salinity, and inorganic nitrogen on the rate of ammonium oxidation by nitrifiers isolated from wetland environments


Ammonium-oxidizing bacteria were examined in two wetland environments, a freshwater marsh and an estuarine bay, during a 2-year period. Two predominant types were consistently isolated, one from each environment. Both isolates were identified as species ofNitrosomonas. Using a closed culture, high cell density assay, the effects of temperature, pH, salinity, Na+, K+, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonium concentrations on ammonium oxidation were determined. Maximum activity was observed for the freshwater isolate at 35°C, pH 8.5, salinities of 0.3 to 0.5% Na+ and K+, and ammonium concentrations greater than 0.5 g/l. For the estuarine isolate, maximum activity was observed at 40°C, pH 8.0, salinities of 0.5 to 1.0%, 1.0% Na+ and K+, and 0.2 g/l ammonium. The estuarine isolate had a Na+ requirement which could be partially substituted by the K+, suggesting that the organism is a true estuarine bacterium. Nitrite inhibited both isolates at concentrations greater than 5 mg/l, whereas nitrate had no significant effect on either isolate.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Alexander, M.: Nitrification. In W. V. Bartholomew and F. E. Clark (eds.): Soil Nitrogen, pp. 309–343. American Society of Agronomists, Madison, Wisconsin (1965)

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Anthonisen, R. C., R. C. Loehr, T. B. S. Prakasam, and E. G. Srinath: Inhibition of nitrification by ammonia and nitrous acid. J. Water Poll. Cont. Fed.48, 835–852 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Bendschneider, K., and R. J. Robinson: A new spectrophotometric method for the determination of nitrite in seawater. J. Mar. Res.11, 87–96 (1952)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Belser, L. W., and E. L. Schmidt: Nitrification in soils. In D. Schlessinger (ed.): Microbiology, pp. 348–351. ASM, Washington, D.C. (1978)

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Billen, G.: Nitrification in the Scheldt estuary (Belgium and the Netherlands). Estuar. Coast. Mar. Scien.3, 79–89 (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Buchanan, R. E., and N. E. Gibbons (eds.): Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology. Williams & Wilkins Co., Baltimore (1974)

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Conners, W. H., and J. W. Day: Productivity and composition of a bald cypress-water tupelo site and a bottomland hardwood site in a Louisiana swamp. Am. J. Bot.63, 1354–1364 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    DeLeval, J., and J. Remacle: The influence of environmental factors on nitrification. Environ. Biogeochem.1, 259–269 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    DeMarco, J., J. Kurbiel, J. Symons, and G. Robeck: Influence of environmental factors on the nitrogen cycle in water. J. Am. Water Works Assoc.59, 580–592 (1967)

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Frederick, L. R.: The formation of nitrate from ammonium nitrogen in soils. 1. Effect of temperature. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc.20, 496–501 (1956)

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Ho, C. L., and S. Schneider: Water and sediment chemistry. In: Louisiana offshore oil port environmental baseline study. Vol. III. No. 6. Center for Wetland Resources, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Koike, I., and A. Hattori: Simultaneous determination of nitrification and nitrate reduction in coastal sediments by a15N dilution technique. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.35, 853–857 (1978)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Koops, H. P., H. Harms, and H. Wehrmann: Isolation of a moderately halophilic ammonia-oxidizing bacterium,Nitrosococcus mobilis nov. sp Arch. Microbiol.107, 277–282 (1976)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Loveless, J. E., and H. A. Painter: The influence of metal ion concentration and pH value on the growth of aNitrosomonas strain isolated from activated sludge. J. Gen. Microbiol.52, 1–14 (1968)

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Matulewich, V. A., P. F. Strom, and M. S. Finstein: Length of incubation for enumerating nitrifying bacteria present in various environments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.29, 265–268 (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Murray, R. G. E., and S. W. Watson: Structure ofNitrosocystis oceanus and comparison withNitrosomonas andNitrobacter. J Bacteriol.89, 1594–1609 (1965)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Painter, H. A.: A review of the literature on inorganic nitrogen metabolism in microorganisms. Water Res.4, 393–450 (1970)

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Schmidt, E. L., J. A. E. Molina, and C. Chiang: Isolation of chemoautotrophic nitrifiers from Morrocan soils. Bull. Ecol. Res. Comm. (Stockh.)17, 1966–1967 (1973)

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Walker, N.: Nitrification and nitrifying bacteria. In N. Walker (ed.): Soil Microbiology, pp. 133–146. Butterworths, London (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Watson, S. W.: Characteristics of a marine nitrifying bacteriumNitrosocystis oceanus sp. n. Limnol. Oceanogr.10, R274-R289 (1965)

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Watson, S. W.: Taxonomic considerations of the family Nitrobacteraceae Buchanan. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol.21, 254–270 (1971)

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Watson, S. W., and M. Mandel: Comparison of the morphology and deoxyribonucleic acid composition of 27 strains of nitrifying bacteria. J. Bacteriol.107, 563–369 (1971)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Vanderborght, J. P., and G. Billen: Vertical distribution of nitrate concentration in interstitial water of marine sediments with nitrification and denitrification. Limnol. Oceanogr.22, 953–961 (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Yoshida, Y.: Studies on the marine nitrifying bacteria: with special reference to characteristics and nitrite formation of marine nitrite formers. Bull. Misaki Mar. Biol. Inst.10, 1–58 (1967)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jones, R.D., Hood, M.A. Effects of temperature, ph, salinity, and inorganic nitrogen on the rate of ammonium oxidation by nitrifiers isolated from wetland environments. Microb Ecol 6, 339–347 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02010496

Download citation


  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Cell Density
  • Maximum Activity
  • High Cell