Anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria can directly convert ammonium and nitrite to nitrogen gas anaerobically and were responsible for a substantial part of the fixed nitrogen loss and re-oxidation of nitrite to nitrate in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Although a wide variety of studies have been undertaken to investigate the abundance and biodiversity of anammox bacteria so far, ecological niche differentiation of anammox bacteria is still not fully understood. To assess their growth behavior and consequent population dynamics at a given environment, the Monod model is often used. Here, we summarize the Monod kinetic parameters such as the maximum specific growth rate (μmax) and the half-saturation constant for nitrite (KNO2-) and ammonium (KNH4+) of five known candidatus genera of anammox bacteria. We also discuss potential pivotal environmental factors and metabolic flexibility that influence the community compositions of anammox bacteria. Particularly biodiversity of the genus "Scalindua" might have been largely underestimated. Several anammox bacteria have been successfully enriched from various source of biomass. We reevaluate their enrichment methods and culture medium compositions to gain a clue of niche differentiation of anammox bacteria. Furthermore, we formulate the current issues that must be addressed. Overall this review re-emphasizes the importance of enrichment cultures (preferably pure cultures), physiological characterization and direct microbial competition studies using enrichment cultures in laboratories.
Keywords: Anammox bacteria; Enrichment cultures; Growth kinetics; Microbial competition; Niche differentiation.
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