Extracellular electron transfer-dependent anaerobic oxidation of ammonium by anammox bacteria

Dario R. Shaw, Muhammad Ali, Krishna Katuri, Jeffrey A. Gralnick, Joachim Reimann, Rob Mesman, Laura van Niftrik, Mike S. M. Jetten, Pascal Saikaly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) bacteria contribute significantly to the global nitrogen cycle and play a major role in sustainable wastewater treatment. Anammox bacteria convert ammonium (NH4+) to dinitrogen gas (N2) using intracellular electron acceptors such as nitrite (NO2−) or nitric oxide (NO). However, it is still unknown whether anammox bacteria have extracellular electron transfer (EET) capability with transfer of electrons to insoluble extracellular electron acceptors. Here we show that freshwater and marine anammox bacteria couple the oxidation of NH4+ with transfer of electrons to insoluble extracellular electron acceptors such as graphene oxide or electrodes in microbial electrolysis cells. 15N-labeling experiments revealed that NH4+ was oxidized to N2 via hydroxylamine (NH2OH) as intermediate, and comparative transcriptomics analysis revealed an alternative pathway for NH4+ oxidation with electrode as electron acceptor. Complete NH4+ oxidation to N2 without accumulation of NO2− and NO3− was achieved in EET-dependent anammox. These findings are promising in the context of implementing EET-dependent anammox process for energy-efficient treatment of nitrogen.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2020

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