Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2017 09 20() doi 10.1007/s00253-017-8502-3
Eleven published PCR primer sets for detecting genes encoding 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), hydrazine oxidoreductase (HZO), cytochrome cd 1-containing nitrite reductase (NirS), and hydrazine synthase subunit A (HzsA) of anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria were assessed for the diversity and abundance of anammox bacteria in samples of three environments: wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), wetland of Mai Po Nature Reserve (MP), and the South China Sea (SCS). Consistent phylogenetic results of three biomarkers (16S rRNA, hzo, and hzsA) of anammox bacteria were obtained from all samples. WWTP had the lowest diversity with Candidatus Kuenenia dominating while the SCS was dominated by Candidatus Scalindua. MP showed the highest diversity of anammox bacteria including C. Scalindua, C. Kuenenia, and Candidatus Brocadia. Comparing different primer sets, no significant differences in specificity for 16S rRNA gene could be distinguished. Primer set CL1 showed relatively high efficiency in detecting the anammox bacterium hzo gene from all samples, while CL2 showed greater selectivity for WWTP samples. The recently reported primer sets of the hzsA gene resulted in high efficiencies in detecting anammox bacteria while nirS primer sets were more selective for specific samples. Results collectively indicate that the distribution of anammox bacteria is niche-specific within different ecosystems and primer specificity may cause biases on the diversity detected.