The biological nitrogen cycle is driven by a plethora of reactions transforming nitrogen compounds between various redox states. Here, we investigated the metagenomic potential for nitrogen cycle of the in situ microbial community in an oligotrophic, brackish environment of the Bothnian Sea sediment. Total DNA from three sediment depths was isolated and sequenced. The characterization of the total community was performed based on 16S rRNA gene inventory using SILVA database as reference. The diversity of diagnostic functional genes coding for nitrate reductases (napA;narG), nitrite:nitrate oxidoreductase (nxrA), nitrite reductases (nirK;nirS;nrfA), nitric oxide reductase (nor), nitrous oxide reductase (nosZ), hydrazine synthase (hzsA), ammonia monooxygenase (amoA), hydroxylamine oxidoreductase (hao), and nitrogenase (nifH) was analyzed by blastx against curated reference databases. In addition, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based amplification was performed on the hzsA gene of anammox bacteria. Our results reveal high genomic potential for full denitrification to N2, but minor importance of anaerobic ammonium oxidation and dissimilatory nitrite reduction to ammonium. Genomic potential for aerobic ammonia oxidation was dominated by Thaumarchaeota. A higher diversity of anammox bacteria was detected in metagenomes than with PCR-based technique. The results reveal the importance of various N-cycle driving processes and highlight the advantage of metagenomics in detection of novel microbial key players.
- Bothnian Sea