Lesley Robertson l.a.robertson at
Mon Sep 23 06:48:48 EST 1996

Guenter.Jost at (Guenter Jost) wrote:
>During last days a chemist asked me if I know something about 
>"deammonification" because a college of him working in a water treatment 
>plant told him that it should be possible by this process to remove 
>ammonia from water. And he wanted to know something about the 
>microbiological background. But until this moment I would be sure there 
>is no microorganism who oxidice ammonia to N2. Or, are I'm wrong?
>Günter Jost, 
>Baltic Sea Research Institute,Seestraße 15, 18119 Warnemünde
>e-mail:Guenter.Jost at

There are very well-known bacteria that oxidize ammonia to nitrite, and 
nitrite (nitrifiers), and others that reduce nitrate or nitrite to N2 
(denitrifiers). These reations are commonly used in wastewater treatment 
- any general textbook will give you the details. A small group of 
heterotrophic nitrifiers also denitrify, and some of the autotrophic 
nitrifiers can produce N2O, but neither set of rates appears to be 
sufficiently high for water treatment. Finally, there is the anammox 
process, where ammonia id the electron donor and nitrite is the electron 
accpetor. This work has recently been published:
van de Graaf, et al. Appl Env Microbiol 61:1246-1251 (1995)
van de Graaf et al. Microbiology 142:2187-2196 (1996)
Lesley Robertson
Kluyver Laboratory for Biotechnology, Julianalaan 67,
Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands.

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