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Microbes and Nitrogen

GCE scientists are studying a novel group of microbes that appear to convert nitrogen from ammonium to nitrate. Very little is known about these organisms, but their potential importance has implications for both understanding nitrogen cycling and controlling nitrogen pollution.

Caffrey, J.M., Bano, N., Kalanetra, K. and Hollibaugh, J.T. 2007. Ammonia oxidation and ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria and Archaea populations from estuaries with differing histories of hypoxia. ISME Journal. 1:660-662. (DOI:
Hollibaugh, J.T., Gifford, S., Sharma, S., Bano, N. and Moran, M. 2010. Metatranscriptomic analysis of ammonia-oxidizing organisms in an estuarine bacterioplankton assemblage. ISME Journal. (in press)
James T. Hollibaugh
Estimates of the abundance of Archaea (Marine Group 1 Crenarchaeota) in the Duplin River at the GCE-LTER site, showing a peak in August. Inset shows the abundance of ammonia oxidizing genes in relation to the abundance of Archaea (regression line slope= 0.51, r2=0.99). The presence of both the Archaea and the ammonia oxidizing genes were detected using molecular techniques (quantitative PCR) targeted towards Crenarchaea 16S rRNA and amoA, respectively.
Adapted from Hollibaugh et al. in press.



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