CandidatusSiderophilus nitratireducens”: a psychrophilic,nap-dependent nitrate-reducing iron oxidizer within the new order Siderophiliales

Corbera-Rubio et al. (2023).
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AbstractNitrate leaching from agricultural soils is increasingly found in groundwater, a primary source of drinking water worldwide. This nitrate influx can potentially stimulate the biological oxidation of iron in anoxic groundwater reservoirs. Nitrate-reducing iron-oxidizing (NRFO) bacteria have been extensively studied in laboratory settings, yet their ecophysiology in natural environments remains largely unknown. To this end, we established a pilot-scale filter on nitrate-rich groundwater to elucidate the structure and metabolism of nitrate-reducing iron-oxidizing microbiomes under oligotrophic conditions mimicking natural groundwaters. The enriched community stoichiometrically removed iron and nitrate consistently with NRFO metabolism. Genome-resolved metagenomics revealed the underlying metabolic network between the dominant iron-dependent denitrifying autotrophs and the less abundant organoheterotrophs. The most abundant genome belonged to a newCandidateorder, named Siderophiliales. This new species, “CandidatusSiderophilus nitratireducens”, carries central genes to iron oxidation (cytochromec cyc2), carbon fixation (rbc), and for the sole periplasmic nitrate reductase (nap). To our knowledge, this is the first report ofnap-based lithoautotrophic growth, and we demonstrate that iron oxidation coupled to dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to nitrite is thermodynamically favourable under realistic Fe3+/Fe2+andconcentration ratios. Ultimately, by bridging the gap between laboratory investigations and real-world conditions, this study provides insights into the intricate interplay between nitrate and iron in groundwater ecosystems, and expands our understanding of NRFOs taxonomic diversity and ecological role.
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