Navigation Links
Hydrogen powers important nitrogen-transforming bacteria
Date:8/29/2014

This news release is available in German.

Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria are key players in the natural nitrogen cycle on Earth and in biological wastewater treatment plants. For decades, these specialist bacteria were thought to depend on nitrite as their source of energy. An international team of scientists led by Holger Daims, a microbiologist at the University of Vienna, has now shown that nitrite-oxidizing bacteria can use hydrogen as an alternative source of energy. The oxidation of hydrogen with oxygen enables their growth independent of nitrite and a lifestyle outside the nitrogen cycle. The study is published in the current issue of the journal Science.

Nitrogen, an essential chemical element for life, is transformed into its different chemical forms in numerous steps of the global nitrogen cycle. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria are important players in nitrogen cycling since they convert the toxic nitrite to the less harmful nitrate. "Humans exploit this process in biological wastewater treatment. Moreover, the formed nitrate is a substrate for other important microbial processes and a source of nitrogen for many plants" explains Hanna Koch, first author of the study and Ph.D. student at the Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science of the University of Vienna. Since the description of the first nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in the 19th century, scientists have assumed that the survival of these microorganisms would depend on nitrite as their source of energy. Therefore, the presence of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in the environment and in wastewater treatment plants has commonly been associated with the nitrogen cycle.

Nitrospira: Nitrite oxidizers with surprising features

The environmentally most widespread nitrite oxidizers belong to the genus Nitrospira. These bacteria occur in the most different habitats such as soil, rivers, lakes and oceans, and even in hot springs. In addition, Nitrospira are the key nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in wastewater treatment plants. A team of scientists from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and France has now revealed surprising facts about these microorganisms. "The genome analysis of a Nitrospira species indicated that this bacterium might use hydrogen as an alternative source of energy" says Holger Daims from the Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science of the University of Vienna. The potential of Nitrospira to use hydrogen was then studied in detail.

NanoSIMS at the University of Vienna for high-resolution single-cell analyses

The hydrogen-dependent growth of Nitrospira could be visualized in individual bacterial cells by using the high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometer, also called "NanoSIMS", at the University of Vienna. Under high vacuum conditions like in space, this method shoots small particles out of single bacterial cells for subsequent identification by mass spectrometry. "This exciting approach is feasible at very few research institutions worldwide", says Daims about this high-tech equipment. The scientists could show that Nitrospira cells, which use hydrogen as the source of energy, incorporate carbon dioxide into their biomass. This metabolic activity is linked to cell proliferation and was important evidence that the Nitrospira bacteria indeed use hydrogen for growth. These newly discovered features raise numerous questions about the lifestyle of the "free-living" close relatives of this Nitrospira species in the environment and wastewater treatment plants.

New insights into the ecology of nitrite oxidizers

"The oxidation of hydrogen not only enables Nitrospira to colonize unexpected habitats, but also sustains their activity when nitrite is not available" explains Hanna Koch. Holger Daims adds: "This discovery was a great surprise to us. In the next step, we will explore how extensively environmental nitrite oxidizers use hydrogen as an energy source. Our goal is to better understand the ecology of these important bacteria and their significance for the global cycles of nitrogen and carbon".


'/>"/>

Contact: Holger Daims
daims@microbial-ecology.net
43-142-777-6604
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Low-cost nanosheet catalyst discovered to split hydrogen from water
2. Controlling gene expression with hydrogen peroxide switches
3. Novel nano-structures to realize hydrogens energy potential
4. Temporary storage for electrons: Natural method of producing hydrogen
5. Hydrogen peroxide vapor enhances hospital disinfection of superbugs
6. Just add water: How scientists are using silicon to produce hydrogen on demand
7. Hydrogen sulfide: The next anti-aging agent?
8. A new technology for producing hydrogen
9. Synthetic molecule first electricity-making catalyst to use iron to split hydrogen gas
10. Ash from refuse could become hydrogen gas
11. Surprising findings on hydrogen production in green algae
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Hydrogen powers important nitrogen-transforming bacteria
(Date:2/6/2017)... , Feb. 6, 2017 According to ... are driving border authorities to continue to embrace ... there are 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates ... deployed at more than 163 ports of entry ... to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2017  EyeLock ... has released a new white paper " What You ... The problem of ensuring user authenticity is a ... protect the authentication of users. However, traditional authentication schemes ... Biometric authentication offers an elegant ...
(Date:1/30/2017)...   Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA ... today announced that it will report its fourth quarter ... on Monday, February 13, 2017, and Invitae,s management team ... p.m. Eastern / 1:45 p.m. Pacific. ... financial results, guidance, and recent developments and will spend ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... Liquid Biopsy System , a fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact circulating ... is being launched at the Molecular Medicine Tri Conference (Tri-Con) Annual Meeting 2017 ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 21, ... ... the Life -Sciences division, Treximo will pair its $200M operational capacity with ... consulting and project management in areas affecting quality and operational management. ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... -- Lexus, a returning partner of the Amgen Tour of California ... partner of the men,s and women,s events for the next five ... Tour of California will mark the start ... professional cycling teams in the world racing from Northern to ... Breakaway from Heart Disease TM Women,s Race empowered with ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Bioplastics & Biopolymers ... over the next decade to reach approximately $8.9 billion by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: