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Airborne microorganisms exacerbate the formation of atmospheric ammonium and sulfate.

08:00 EDT 10th March 2020 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Airborne microorganisms exacerbate the formation of atmospheric ammonium and sulfate."

Haze pollution is inseparable from the transformation of air pollutants especially the ammonium and sulfate. Chemical and physical processes play important roles in this transformation. However, the role of microbial processes has rarely been studied. In this report, we applied the cultivation-independent metagenomic approach to study airborne microorganisms, investigating the potential microbial-catalyzed transformation of ammonium and sulfate in PM samples. Functional genes predict that airborne microorganisms have the potential to catalyze ammonium formation but not ammonium oxidation since no ammoxidation genes were identified. We also found that the frequency of sulfate-forming genes was 1.56 times of those for sulfate-reducing genes. It was speculated that microbial metabolisms in the atmosphere could contribute to the accumulation of ammonium and sulfate. With the increase of PM concentration, the frequency of functional genes and the relative abundance of genera which involved in nitrogen and sulfur metabolisms increased. That suggested air pollution was conducive to the microbial-mediated formation of ammonium and sulfate. Overall, our results provided evidence for the possible role of microbial processes in the air pollutant transformation and brought a new perspective for studying the formation of secondary air pollutants.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)
ISSN: 1873-6424
Pages: 114293

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