Ammonia oxidation is the first and rate-limiting step of nitrification, which is carried out by two groups of microorganisms: ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and the recently discovered ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA). In this study, diversity and abundance of AOB and AOA were investigated in five rock samples from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent site at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) of the South Atlantic Ocean. Both bacterial and archaeal ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) gene sequences obtained in this study were closely related to the sequences retrieved from deep-sea environments, indicating that AOB and AOA in this hydrothermal vent site showed typical deep ocean features. AOA were more diverse but less abundant than AOB. The ratios of AOA/AOB amoA gene abundance ranged from 1/3893 to 1/242 in all investigate samples, indicating that bacteria may be the major members responding to the aerobic ammonia oxidation in this hydrothermal vent site. Furthermore, diversity and abundance of AOA and AOB were significantly correlated with the contents of total nitrogen and total sulfur in investigated samples, suggesting that these two environmental factors exert strong influences on distribution of ammonia oxidizers in deep-sea hydrothermal vent environment.
- Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA)
- Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB)
- Deep-sea hydrothermal vent
- Mid-Atlantic Ridge
- amoA gene