Biochemistry shapes growth kinetics of nitrifiers and defines their activity under specific environmental conditions

Martinez-Rabert, E., Smith, C. J. , Sloan, W. T. and González‐Cabaleiro, R. (2022) Biochemistry shapes growth kinetics of nitrifiers and defines their activity under specific environmental conditions. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 119(5), pp. 1290-1300. (doi: 10.1002/bit.28045) (PMID:35092010)

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Is it possible to find trends between the parameters that define microbial growth to help us explain the vast microbial diversity? Through an extensive database of kinetic parameters of nitrifiers, we analysed if the dominance of specific populations of nitrifiers could be predicted and explained. We concluded that, in general, higher growth yield (YXS) and ammonia affinity (a0 NH3) and lower growth rate (µmax) are observed for ammonia-oxidising archaea (AOA) than bacteria (AOB), which would explain their considered dominance in oligotrophic environments. However, comammox (CMX), with the maximum energy harvest per mole of ammonia, and some AOB, have higher a0 NH3 and lower µmax than some AOA. Although we were able to correlate the presence of specific terminal oxidases with observed oxygen affinities (a0 O2) for nitrite-oxidising bacteria (NOB), that correlation was not observed for AOB. Moreover, the presumed dominance of AOB over NOB in O2-limiting environments is discussed. Additionally, lower statistical variance of a0 O2 values than for ammonia and nitrite affinities was observed, suggesting nitrogen limitation as a stronger selective pressure. Overall, specific growth strategies within nitrifying groups were not identified through the reported kinetic parameters, which might suggest that mostly, fundamental differences in biochemistry are responsible for underlying kinetic parameters.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sloan, Professor William and Smith, Professor Cindy and Martinez, Mr Eloy
Authors: Martinez-Rabert, E., Smith, C. J., Sloan, W. T., and González‐Cabaleiro, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Biotechnology and Bioengineering
ISSN (Online):1097-0290
Published Online:28 January 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering 119(5): 1290-1300
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190641Synthetic Biology applications to Water Supply and RemediationSteven BeaumontEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/K038885/1Research and Innovation Services
305200DTP 2018-19 University of GlasgowMary Beth KneafseyEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/R513222/1MVLS - Graduate School