New paper in PNAS


Nitrite-oxidizing Nitrospira bacteria are metabolically surprisingly versatile. An international team led by Holger Daims now shows that Nitrospira moscoviensis, representing a group of key nitrite oxidizers in natural and engineered ecosystems, can utilize urea as energy source via a new reciprocal feeding interaction with ammonia oxidizers. Moreover, N. moscoviensis grows on formate as the sole carbon and energy source, oxidizes formate anaerobically with nitrate reduction, and is able to simultaneously oxidize formate and nitrite using both oxygen and nitrate as electron acceptors. This high degree of physiological flexibility was unexpected for nitrite oxidizers and implies that Nitrospira contribute to N-cycling processes beyond nitrite oxidation.