Community structure and population dynamics of ammonia oxidizers in composting processes of ammonia-rich livestock waste

Takeshi Yamada, Shinya Araki, Wakako Ikeda-Ohtsubo, Keiko Okamura, Akira Hiraishi, Hideyo Ueda, Yasuichi Ueda, Keisuke Miyauchi, Ginro Endo

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31 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the relationship between the population dynamics of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA), and changes in the concentrations of nitrogenous compounds during ammonia-rich livestock waste-composting processes. The data showed that ammonia in beef and dairy cow livestock waste-composting piles was slowly oxidized to nitrite and nitrate after approximately 21-35 days under thermophilic or moderately thermophilic and mesophilic conditions. Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays showed a relative abundance of betaproteobacterial AOB during ammonia oxidation but did not detect AOA in any composting stage. Furthermore, real-time qPCR and terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analyses for the AOB in two composting processes (beef and dairy cow livestock waste) out of the three studied found that thermophilic or moderately thermophilic uncultured betaproteobacterial AOB from the "compost AOB cluster" contributed to ammonia oxidation during hot composting stages. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analyses of the data from T-RFLP showed that only a few analogous species predominated during composting of beef, dairy cow and pig livestock wastes, and thus, the AOB community structures in the three composting piles operating under different conditions were similar. AOB-targeted clone library analyses revealed that uncultured members of the "compost AOB cluster", which could be clearly distinguished from the authentic species of the genus Nitrosomonas, were the major constituents of the AOB populations. These results suggested that a limited and unique species of AOB played a role in ammonia oxidation during the composting of ammonia-rich livestock waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul


  • Ammonia oxidation
  • Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria
  • AmoA
  • Compost
  • Livestock manure


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