A first assessment of anammox activity, which is a unique N2 emission process, was conducted in samples of coastal marine sediment from Japan with a 15N tracer. The occurrence and diversity of bacteria possibly responsible for the anammox process were also evaluated by selective PCR-amplification of the 16S rRNA gene for known anammox bacteria. Anammox activity, detected by measuring 14N15N gas production, was only found in samples collected at the intertidal sand bank located at the Yodo River estuary. In the Yodo River samples, 16S rRNA gene fragments affiliated with the known anammox bacterial lineage were also recovered, and the two major phylotypes were both "Candidatus Scalindua wagneri" relatives with 95% and 98% sequence similarity. Even from the other samples in which no recognizable anammox activity was detected, 16S rRNA gene fragments related to known anammox bacteria, but not to "Ca. S. wagneri", were detected. This is the first report of anammox-mediated N2 emission in coastal marine environments in Japan. Notably, the PCR-based analysis allowed us to discover unexpected phylogenetic diversity of anammox bacteria-related 16S rRNA gene sequences. The selective PCR primer set developed in this study could be a powerful tool to unveil the ecology of anammox bacteria in natural environments.
Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology / Taiwan Society of Microbial Ecology