Hovanec, T. A. and E. F. DeLong. 1996.
Abstract: Three nucleic acid probes, two for autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria of the beta subdivision of the class Proteobacteria and one for alpha subdivision nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, were developed and used to study nitrifying bacterial phylotypes associated with various freshwater and seawater aquarium biofilters. Nitrosomonas europaea and related species were detected in all nitrifying seawater systems, and accounted for as much as 20% of the total eubacterial rRNA. In contrast, nitrifying bacteria belonging to the beta Proteobacterial subdivision were detected in only two samples from freshwater aquaria showing vigorous nitrification rates. rRNA originating from nitrite-oxidizing alpha subdivision Proteobacteria was not detected in samples from either aquarium environment. The data obtained indicates that chemolithotrophic ammonia oxidation in the freshwater aquaria was not due to betaProteobacterial phylotypes related to the genus Nitrosomonas, and their close relatives, the organisms usually implicated in freshwater nitrification. It is likely that nitrification in natural environments is even more complex than nitrification in these simple systems and is less well characterized with regard to the microorganisms responsible.