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Anaerobic ammonium oxidation linked to sulfate and ferric iron reduction fuels nitrogen loss in marine sediments

AuthorsRios Del Toro, Emilia E.; Valenzuela, Edgardo I.; López-Lozano, Nguyen E.; Cortés-Martínez, M. Guadalupe; Sánchez-Rodríguez, Miguel A.; Calvario-Martínez, Omar; Sánchez Carrillo, Salvador ; Cervantes, Francisco J.
KeywordsSulfur cycle
Iron cycle
Nitrogen cycle
Marine environment
Anaerobic ammonium oxidation
Issue Date2018
CitationBiodegradation 29: 429-442 (2018)
AbstractAvailability of fixed nitrogen is a pivotal driver on primary productivity in the oceans, thus the identification of key processes triggering nitrogen losses from these ecosystems is of major importance as they affect ecosystems function and consequently global biogeochemical cycles. Denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation coupled to nitrite reduction (Anammox) are the only identified marine sinks for fixed nitrogen. The present study provides evidence indicating that anaerobic ammonium oxidation coupled to the reduction of sulfate, the most abundant electron acceptor present in the oceans, prevails in marine sediments. Tracer analysis with 15N-ammonium revealed that this microbial process, here introduced as Sulfammox, accounts for up to 5 μg 15N2 produced g−1 day−1 in sediments collected from the eastern tropical North Pacific coast. Raman and X-ray diffraction spectroscopies revealed that elemental sulfur and sphalerite (ZnFeS) were produced, besides free sulfide, during the course of Sulfammox. Anaerobic ammonium oxidation linked to Fe(III) reduction (Feammox) was also observed in the same marine sediments accounting for up to 2 μg 15N2 produced g−1 day−1. Taxonomic characterization, based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing, of marine sediments performing the Sulfammox and Feammox processes revealed the microbial members potentially involved. These novel nitrogen sinks may significantly fuel nitrogen loss in marine environments. These findings suggest that the interconnections among the oceanic biogeochemical cycles of N, S and Fe are much more complex than previously considered.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10532-018-9839-8
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