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Vol. 191, 2018, Pages: 858-867

Response of ammonia oxidizing archaea and bacteria to decabromodiphenyl ether and copper contamination in river sediments

Linqiong Wang, Yi Li, Lihua Niu, Wenlong Zhang, Huanjun Zhang, Longfei Wang, Peifang Wang

Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development of Shallow Lakes, Ministry of Education, College of Environment, Hohai University, Xikang Road #1, Nanjing, 210098, PR China.


Ammonia oxidation plays a fundamental role in river nitrogen cycling ecosystems, which is normally governed by both ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB). Co-contamination of typical emerging pollutant Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and heavy metal on AOA and AOB communities in river sediments remains unknown. In this study, multiple analytical tools, including high-throughput pyrosequencing and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), were used to reveal the ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) activity, subunit alpha (amoA) gene abundance, and community structures of AOA and AOB in river sediments. It was found that the inhibition of AMO activities was increased with the increase of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 209, 1–100 mg kg-1) and copper (Cu, 50–500 mg kg-1) concentrations. Moreover, the synergic effects of BDE 209 and Cu resulted in a higher AMO activity reduction than the individual pollutant BDE 209. The AOA amoA copy number declined by 75.9% and 83.2% and AOB amoA gene abundance declined 82.8% and 90.0% at 20 and 100 mg kg-1 BDE 209 with a 100 mg kg-1 Cu co-contamination, respectively. The pyrosequencing results showed that both AOB and AOA community structures were altered, with a higher change of AOB than that of AOA. The results demonstrated that the AOB microbial community may be better adapted to BDE 209 and Cu pollution, while AOA might possess a greater capacity for stress resistance. Our study provides a better understanding of the ecotoxicological effects of heavy metal and micropollutant combined exposure on AOA and AOB in river sediments.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Ammonia oxidizing archaea, Ammonia oxidizing bacteria, BDE 209, Cu, River sediment.

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