Anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in tropical bioaugmented zero water exchange aquaculture ponds

  • Ramya Ramankutty Nair
  • Boobal Rangaswamy
  • Bright Singh Isaac Sarojini
  • Valsamma JosephEmail author
Research Article


Bioaugmented zero water exchange aquaculture production systems (ZWEAPS) maintained with minimal or no water exchange prevent the ammonia accumulation in the system, leading to environmental sustainability and biosecurity. The microbes in the bioaugmented ZWEAPS plays a major role in maintaining low levels of ammonia through ammonia oxidation and nitrite oxidation. The comprehensive understanding on anammox population in the systems will provide an insight on the environmental factors controlling the functional anammox bacterial communities for potential biostimulation and augmented ammonia removal in ZWEAPS. The sediment metagenome of such three tropical bioaugmented ZWE shrimp culture ponds were analysed to determine the diversity, distribution and abundance of anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria based on hydrazine oxidoreductase (hzo) gene as a phylogenetic marker. The restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) phylotypes from the clone libraries were identified with maximum distribution to Candidatus Kuenenia, as the dominant population in the study sites with high ammonia load followed by Candidatus Scalindua. The environmental factors associated with the abundance and diversity of the anammox population were analysed using RDA and Pearson correlation. The samples of final culturing period (75th day) of TCR-S ZWE pond was observed with the highest operational taxonomic unit (OTU)–based diversity, where comparatively higher ammonia (water 0.71 mg L−1 and sediment 1.21 mg L−1) was recorded among the study sites. The gene abundance of the anammox population ranged from 106 to 107 copies per gram of sediment, in spite of less diversity. The physiochemical factors such as ammonia, nitrite, redox potential and the total organic carbon indicated a strong and positive correlation to the abundance and distribution of the anammox population, which highlights the importance of anammox communities and the potential of biostimulation for ammonia removal in the aquaculture systems.


Zero water exchange aquaculture production system (ZWEAPS) Hydrazine oxidoreductase gene Anaerobic ammonia oxidation (Anammox) Bioremediation 


Funding information

The study is funded by the National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health (NCAAH), Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), India and University Grants Commission (UGC), India in the form Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) and Senior Research Fellowships (SRF) (ref. no. 20-12/2009(ii)E-IV).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2020_7663_MOESM1_ESM.docx (952 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 952 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Centre for Aquatic Animal HealthCochin University of Science and TechnologyKochiIndia

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