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Nutrient Removal in Eutrophic Water Promotes Stability of Planktonic Bacterial and Protist Communities


Nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) removal by using bioremediation technologies in eutrophic water alters bacterial and protist community structure and function, but how it changes the stability of community remains unclear. To fill this gap, in this study, bacterial and protist communities were investigated using 16S and 18S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing during the nutrient removal by using ecological floating beds of Canna indica L. Our results showed that both bacterial and protist community compositions in the treatment group were similar to those in the control group at the beginning of the experiment (day 1 to day 11), but then bacterial and protist community compositions became more stable with the removal of nutrients in the treatment group than those in the control group (day 12 to day 18). We further explored the mechanisms for this increased stability and found that the contribution of the stochastic process to bacterial and protist community variations was higher in the control group than that in the treatment group. This suggests that the high nutrient concentration in the control group might increase the random colonization or extinction, and therefore resulted in the high temporal variability (i.e., unstable) of bacterial and protist communities. Our findings suggest that bioremediation for eutrophication can promote the stability of aquatic communities, and therefore potentially maintain aquatic ecosystem functions and services to humanity.

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Availability of Data and Material

All sequence data from this study have been deposited in the public NCBI Sequence Read Archive (SRA) database under the accession numbers PRJNA562503 (bacteria) and PRJNA542064 (protists).


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This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31971469), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA23040302), the Qishan Scholar Program of Fuzhou University (GXRC-20061), and the Research Project of Development Center of Science and Education Park, Fuzhou University (JinJiang) (2019-JJFDKY-71).

Author information




LL, JY, and JC conceived the idea and designed the experiments. LL wrote the paper. SW and LL performed the experiments. LL and SW analyzed the data. LL, JY, and JC contributed the reagents/materials/analysis tools. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Lemian Liu or Jun Yang.

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Liu, L., Wang, S., Yang, J. et al. Nutrient Removal in Eutrophic Water Promotes Stability of Planktonic Bacterial and Protist Communities. Microb Ecol (2021).

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  • Microbial community
  • Eutrophication
  • Ecological floating beds
  • 16S and 18S rRNA genes
  • Community stability