“Candidatus Siderophilus nitratireducens”: a putative nap-dependent nitrate-reducing iron oxidizer within the new order Siderophiliales

F. Corbera Rubio, G.R. Stouten, Jantinus Bruins, Simon F. Dost, Alexander Y. Merkel, S. Müller, Mark C.M. van Loosdrecht, D. van Halem, M. Laureni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Nitrate leaching from agricultural soils is increasingly found in groundwater, a primary source of drinking water worldwide. This nitrate influx can potentially stimulate the biological oxidation of iron in anoxic groundwater reservoirs. Nitrate-dependent iron-oxidizing (NDFO) bacteria have been extensively studied in laboratory settings, yet their ecophysiology in natural environments remains largely unknown. To this end, we established a pilot-scale filter on nitrate-rich groundwater to elucidate the structure and metabolism of nitrate-reducing iron-oxidizing microbiomes under oligotrophic conditions mimicking natural groundwaters. The enriched community stoichiometrically removed iron and nitrate consistently with the NDFO metabolism. Genome-resolved metagenomics revealed the underlying metabolic network between the dominant iron-dependent denitrifying autotrophs and the less abundant organoheterotrophs. The most abundant genome belonged to a new Candidate order, named Siderophiliales. This new species, “Candidatus Siderophilus nitratireducens,” carries genes central genes to iron oxidation (cytochrome c cyc2), carbon fixation (rbc), and for the sole periplasmic nitrate reductase (nap). Using thermodynamics, we demonstrate that iron oxidation coupled to nap based dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to nitrite is energetically favorable under realistic Fe3+/Fe2+ and NO3−/NO2− concentration ratios. Ultimately, by bridging the gap between laboratory investigations and nitrate real-world conditions, this study provides insights into the intricate interplay between nitrate and iron in groundwater ecosystems, and expands our understanding of NDFOs taxonomic diversity and ecological role.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberycae008
Number of pages11
JournalISME Communications
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • NDFO
  • iron
  • nitrate
  • groundwater

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