Comparison of nitrifier activity versus growth in a turbid, tidal estuary (Scheldt estuary in northern Europe)

M.g.i. Andersson, Nathalie Brion, J.j. Middelburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nitrifier activity and growth were measured in the Scheldt estuary over a salinity gradient. Measurements were made during all 4 seasons using N-15 enriched ammonium and C-14 labeled carbon incorporation. Established conversion ratios are often used to convert the growth of nitrifiers (measured as the incorporation of carbon) to nitrifying activity (i.e. oxidation of ammonium to nitrate). Our study demonstrated that the conversion of growth rates to nitrifying activity induces uncertainty because activity and growth of nitrifiers may be uncoupled. The C:N conversion ratio appears to be oxygen and temperature dependent. We advocate the use of N-15 stable isotope techniques to study nitrification: this technique measures the actual activity of nitrifiers without the disadvantages involved in using inhibitors, and thus allows light inhibition to be measured.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Microbial Ecology
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Aquatic Microbial Ecology 42: 149-158

Keywords

  • nitrification
  • Scheldt
  • estuary
  • 15N
  • 14C

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