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Summary

The ammonium-oxidizing microbial community was investigated in a granular sludge anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) reactor that was operated for about 1 year with high anaerobic ammonium oxidation activity (up to 0.8 kg NH4+-N m−3 day−1). A Planctomycetales-specific 16S rRNA gene library was constructed to analyse the diversity of the anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AnAOB). Most of the specifically amplified sequences (15/16) were similar to each other (> 99%) but were distantly related to all of the previously recognized sequences (< 94%), with the exception of an unclassified anammox-related clone, KSU-1 (98%). An ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) gene library was also analysed to investigate the diversity of ‘aerobic’ ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AAOB) from the β-Proteobacteria. Most of the amoA gene fragments (53/55) clustered in the Nitrosomonas europaea–Nitrosococcus mobilis group which has been reported to prevail under oxygen-limiting conditions. The quantitative results from real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification showed that the dominant AnAOB comprised approximately 50% of the total bacterial 16S rRNA genes in the reactor, whereas the AAOB of β-Proteobacteria represented only about 3%. A large fragment (4008 bp) of the rRNA gene cluster of the dominant AnAOB (AS-1) in this reactor sludge was sequenced and compared with sequences of other Planctomycetales including four anammox-related candidate genera. The partial sequence of hydrazine-oxidizing enzyme (hzo) of dominant AnAOB was also identified using new designed primers. Based on this analysis, we propose to tentatively name this new AnAOB Candidatus‘Jettenia asiatica’.