AOB were traditionally considered to be responsible for most ammonia oxidation in natural environments, but AOA amoA genes are now known to be ubiquitous and to outnumber those of AOB in many environments, including soils MAPK Inhibitor Library nmr (Leininger et al., 2006), oceans (Wuchter et al., 2006), streams (Merbt et al., 2011) and alpine lakes (Auguet et al., 2011). Although AOA and AOB coexist in many ecosystems, differential sensitivities to pH (Nicol et al., 2008), temperature (Tourna et al., 2008) and ammonium concentration
(Martens-Habbena et al., 2009; Verhamme et al., 2011) appear to control their relative abundances and activities, suggesting distinct physiological adaptations for each group. Photoinhibition of ammonia oxidation has been investigated in laboratory cultures of AOB (e.g. Hooper & Terry, 1974, Guerrero & Jones, 1996a, b). Hyman & Arp (1992) found that light may completely inhibit nitrite production and de novo synthesis of ammonia monooxygenase is required after exposure of cultures to light, leading to suggestions that light may be responsible for the inhibition of nitrification in ocean surface waters (Horrigan et al., 1981), coastal areas (Olson, 1981), estuaries (Horrigan &
Springer, 1990) and eutrophic rivers (Lipschultz et al., 1985). The low availability of laboratory cultures has restricted physiological studies of photoinhibition in AOB and, particularly, AOA. This has prevented assessment of the role of light exposure in niche separation and distribution of AOA and AOB in natural environments. Recent observations of the distribution Panobinostat concentration of archaeal amoA genes in stream biofilms exposed to light and dark conditions (Merbt et al., 2011) and along a vertical profile in the Atlantic Ocean (Church et al., 2010) suggest, however, that AOA could also be sensitive to light and that sensitivity of AOA and AOB may differ. The aims of this study were to determine the effects of different light intensities on
bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidation using several science laboratory cultures of AOA and AOB and to assess their potential to explain AOB and AOA differential distribution and activity in aquatic ecosystems. Photoinhibition of two AOB (Nitrosomonas europaea ATCC19718 and Nitrosospira multiformis ATCC25196) and two AOA (Nitrosopumilus maritimus and Nitrosotalea devanaterra) strains was investigated during growth in batch culture. Nitrosomonas europaea and N. multiformis were obtained from NCIMB (http://www.ncimb.com/). Nitrosopumilus maritimus and N. devanaterra were obtained from existing laboratory cultures (Könneke et al., 2005; Lehtovirta-Morley et al., 2011). All strains were grown aerobically in 100-ml quartz flasks containing 50 mL inorganic growth medium. AOB were grown in Skinner & Walker (1961) medium containing 1.78 mM ammonia sulphate, adjusted to pH 8.0 with Na2CO3 (5% w/v). Nitrosopumilus maritimus was grown in HEPES-buffered, synthetic medium (pH 7.