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Background The nitrogen (N) cycle consists of complex microbe-mediated transformations driven by a variety of factors, including diversity and concentrations of N compounds. In this study, we examined taxonomic diversity and N substrate utilization by heterotrophic bacteria isolated from streams under complex and simple N-enrichment conditions. Results Diversity estimates differed among isolates from the enrichments, but no significant composition were detected. Substrate utilization and substrate range of bacterial assemblages differed within and among enrichments types, and not simply between simple and complex N-enrichments. Conclusions N substrate use patterns differed between isolates from some complex and simple N-enrichments while others were unexpectedly similar. Taxonomic composition of isolates did not differ among enrichments and was unrelated to N use suggesting strong functional redundancy. Ultimately, our results imply that the available N pool influences physiology and selects for bacteria with various abilities that are unrelated to their taxonomic affiliation. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12866-017-0993-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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BMC Microbiology





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