To mitigate the toxicity of ammonia in aquaculture systems, marine and brackish water ammonia-oxidizing bacterial consortia have been developed and are used for activation of nitrifying bioreactors integrated to recirculating aquaculture systems. To shed more light on to these biological entities, diversity of both the consortia were analyzed based on random cloning of 16S rRNA gene and ammonia-oxidizing bacterial specific amoA gene sequences. The dendrograms of representative clones on the basis of amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis generated 22 and 19 clusters for marine and brackish water nitrifying consortia, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the presence of various autotrophic nitrifiers belonging to α-, β- and γ-Proteobacteria, anaerobic ammonia oxidizers, heterotrophic denitrifiers, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria. Distribution patterns of the organisms within the two consortia were determined using the software Geneious and diversity indices were investigated using Mega 5.0, VITCOMIC and Primer 7. The abundance of ammonia oxidizers was found in the order of 2.21 ± 0.25 × 109 copies/g wet weight of marine consortium and 6.20 ± 0.23 × 107 copies/g of brackish water consortium. Besides, marine ammonia-oxidizing consortium exhibited higher mean population diversity and Shannon Wiener diversity than the brackish water counterparts.

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