Home Science Extreme species deficit of nitrogen-converting microbes in European lakes

Extreme species deficit of nitrogen-converting microbes in European lakes

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Sampling of Lake Constance water from 85 m depth. Ammonia-oxidizing archaea account for his 40% of all microorganisms.

Dr. David Kamanda Ngugi, environmental microbiologist at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ

Leibniz Institute DSMZ

Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany, February 2, 2023 /EIN Presswire.com/ — Joint press release of Leibniz-Instituts DSMZ and DSMZ
Leibniz Institute freshwater ecology and Inland water fishery

An international research team led by microbiologists from the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH in Braunschweig, Germany, found that in the depths of European lakes, detoxification Ammonium abundance is ensured by the extremely low biodiversity of archaea. The researchers recently published their findings in the prestigious international journal Science Advances. A team led by environmental microbiologists at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ has shown that the diversity of Archaea species inhabiting lakes around the world ranges from 1 to 15 species. This is of particular concern in the context of global biodiversity loss and the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada in December 2022. Lakes play an important role in providing fresh water for drinking, inland fishing, and recreation. These ecosystem services will be endangered by ammonium enrichment. Ammonium is an essential component of agricultural fertilizers, contributing to significant increases in environmental concentrations and overall imbalances in the global nitrogen cycle. Nutrient-poor lakes with large bodies of water (such as Lake Constance and many other pre-alpine lakes) are teeming with archaea, a unique class of microorganisms. In sediments and other hypoxic environments, these archaea convert ammonium to nitrate, which is converted to inert dinitrogen gas, an essential component of air. In this way they contribute to the detoxification of ammonium in the aquatic environment. In fact, the dominant species in European lakes are even clonal, indicating low genetic microdiversity among different lakes. This low species diversity contrasts with marine ecosystems, where this group of microbes predominates in much richer species richness, and the ecosystem functions provided by these nitrogen-transforming archaea. stability can become vulnerable to environmental changes.

Maintaining drinking water quality
Our planet has a lot of water, but only 2.5% is fresh water. Much of this freshwater is stored in glaciers and polar ice caps, so only about 80% of it is accessible to humans. About 36% of the European Union’s drinking water comes from surface water. Therefore, it is important to understand how environmental processes such as microbial nitrification maintain this ecosystem service. The rate-limiting step in nitrification is the oxidation of ammonia, which prevents ammonium accumulation and conversion to nitrate via nitrite. In this way, ammonium prevents it from contaminating water sources and is required for eventual conversion to harmless dinitrogen gas. In this study, deep lakes from five different continents were investigated to assess the abundance and evolutionary history of ammonia-oxidizing archaea. Organisms in marine habitats have traditionally colonized freshwater ecosystems. However, these archaea had to undergo major changes in cellular composition only a few times during evolution when they moved from marine habitats to much lower salinity freshwater. We identified this selective pressure as a major barrier to the diversity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea that settle in freshwater. The researchers were also able to pinpoint when a small number of freshwater archaea first appeared. According to this study, dominant archaeal species emerged in European lakes only about 13 million years ago, which is very consistent with the evolutionary history of the studied European lakes.

Slow evolution of freshwater archaea
Europe’s major freshwater species have remained relatively unchanged for 13 million years and have spread almost clonally across Europe and Asia, baffling researchers. Currently, there are not many examples of such long-term and intercontinental-wide evolutionary breaks. The authors suggest that the main factor slowing the rapid growth rate and associated evolutionary change is the low temperature (4 °C) at the bottom of the studied lakes. As a result, these archaea are restricted to a state of low genetic diversity. Because the impacts of climate change are more pronounced in freshwater than in marine habitats, there are very few species, evolutionarily static It is unknown how freshwater archaea will react. It is associated with biodiversity loss.

Publication: Ngugi DK, Salcher MM, Andre AS, Ghai R., Klotz F, Chiriac MC, Ionescu D, Büsing P, Grossart HS, Xing P, Priscu JC, Alymkulov S, Pester M. 2022. Contemporary European Large Quasi-clonal dispersal of ammonia-oxidizing archaea in lakes. Scientific progress: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adc9392

Press contact:
Ph.D. Sven-David Müller, Head of Communications, DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH, Leibniz Institute
Phone: +49 (0)531/2616-300
Email: [email protected]

About the Leibniz Institute DSMZ
The Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures is the world’s most diverse collection of biological resources (bacteria, archaea, protists, yeasts, fungi, bacteriophages, plant viruses, bacterial genomic DNA, human and animal cell line). Microorganisms and cell cultures are collected, researched and archived at the DSMZ. As an institution of the Leibniz Society, his DSMZ with a wide range of scientific services and biological resources has been a global partner for research, science and industry since 1969. DSMZ is the first registered collection in Europe (Regulation (EU) No. 511/ 2014), certified according to the quality standard ISO 9001:2015. As a patent depository, we offer the only possibility in Germany to deposit biological material in accordance with the requirements of the Budapest Treaty. Besides scientific services, research is his second pillar of his DSMZ. Located at the Science Campus Braunschweig Sued, the laboratory houses more than 82,000 cultures and biomaterials and employs about 200 people. www.dsmz.de

PhD Sven David Mueller, MSc
Leibniz Institute DSMZ
+49 531 2616300
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