Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 100, Issue 18, pp 8203–8212 | Cite as

Community composition and activity of anaerobic ammonium oxidation bacteria in the rhizosphere of salt-marsh grass Spartina alterniflora

  • Yanling Zheng
  • Lijun HouEmail author
  • Min LiuEmail author
  • Guoyu Yin
  • Juan Gao
  • Xiaofen Jiang
  • Xianbiao Lin
  • Xiaofei Li
  • Chendi Yu
  • Rong Wang
Environmental biotechnology


Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) as an important nitrogen removal pathway has been investigated in intertidal marshes. However, the rhizosphere-driven anammox process in these ecosystems is largely overlooked so far. In this study, the community dynamics and activities of anammox bacteria in the rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere sediments of salt-marsh grass Spartina alterniflora (a widely distributed plant in estuaries and intertidal ecosystems) were investigated using clone library analysis, quantitative PCR assay, and isotope-tracing technique. Phylogenetic analysis showed that anammox bacterial diversity was higher in the non-rhizosphere sediments (Scalindua and Kuenenia) compared with the rhizosphere zone (only Scalindua genus). Higher abundance of anammox bacteria was detected in the rhizosphere (6.46 × 106–1.56 × 107 copies g−1), which was about 1.5-fold higher in comparison with that in the non-rhizosphere zone (4.22 × 106–1.12 × 107 copies g−1). Nitrogen isotope-tracing experiments indicated that the anammox process in the rhizosphere contributed to 12–14 % N2 generation with rates of 0.43–1.58 nmol N g−1 h−1, while anammox activity in the non-rhizosphere zone contributed to only 4–7 % N2 production with significantly lower activities (0.28–0.83 nmol N g−1 h−1). Overall, we propose that the rhizosphere microenvironment in intertidal marshes might provide a favorable niche for anammox bacteria and thus plays an important role in nitrogen cycling.


Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) Rhizosphere Spartina alterniflora Intertidal sediment Nitrogen cycle 



This study was together funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41322002, 41271114, 41130525, 41071135, and 41501524), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M581567), and the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research. Great thanks are also given to Wayne Gardner and anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions on the earlier versions of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.

Supplementary material

253_2016_7625_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (655 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 654 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanling Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lijun Hou
    • 2
    Email author
  • Min Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guoyu Yin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juan Gao
    • 2
  • Xiaofen Jiang
    • 2
  • Xianbiao Lin
    • 1
  • Xiaofei Li
    • 1
  • Chendi Yu
    • 2
  • Rong Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Geographical SciencesEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal ResearchEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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