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A multi-proxy study of anaerobic ammonium oxidation in marine sediments of the Gullmar Fjord, Sweden

Journal article
Authors J Brandsma
J van de Vossenberg
N Risgaard-Petersen
MC Schmid
Pia Engström
Karinh Eurenius
Stefan Hulth
A Jaeschke
B Abbas
EC Hopmans
M Strous
S Schouten
MSM Jetten
JSS Damste
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 360-366
ISSN 1758-2229
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Chemistry
Pages 360-366
Language en
Subject categories Chemical Sciences


Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) is an important process for nitrogen removal in marine pelagic and benthic environments and represents a major sink in the global nitrogen cycle. We applied a suite of complementary methods for the detection and enumeration of anammox activity and anammox bacteria in marine sediments of the Gullmar Fjord, and compared the results obtained with each technique. 15N labelling experiments showed that nitrogen removal through N2 production was essentially limited to the upper 2 cm of the sediment, where anammox contributed 23–47% of the total production. The presence of marine anammox bacteria belonging to the genus ‘Candidatus Scalindua’ was shown by 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison. FISH counts of anammox bacteria correlated well with anammox activity, while quantitative PCR may have underestimated the number of anammox bacterial 16S rRNA gene copies at this site. Potential nitrogen conversion by anammox ranged from 0.6 to 4.8 fmol N cell−1 day−1, in agreement with previous measurements in the marine environment and in bioreactors. Finally, intact ladderane glycerophospholipid concentrations better reflected anammox activity and abundance than ladderane core lipid concentrations, most likely because the core lipid fraction contained a substantial fossil component, especially deeper in the sediment.

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