Chemoautotroph Bacteria

Edward Birge edward.birge at
Thu Sep 11 12:53:49 EST 1997

Avleen Vig wrote:
> I needs some advice for anyone one who can help me on this:~
> Nitrifying bacteria take nitrogen in the soil and convert it to ammonia and
> ammonium ions. How does the Nitrosomonas and Nitrococcus bacteria use
> ammonia or the ammonium ions to make energy?
> It does not matter if the information is not specifically about Nitrococcus
> and Nitrosomonas, just mainly regarding nitrifying bacteria and how they
> make they energy trough chemosynthesis.
> Anyhelp on this would be very very much appreciated.
>         Thanks
>         Av
>         av at
All chemotrophic bacteria get their metabolic energy by oxidizing some
suitable chemical. In the case of your question, they can oxidize
ammonium ion to nitrite ion or nitrite ion to nitrate ion. Farmers will
sometimes put anhydrous ammonia in their fields in order to take
advantage of these reactions because nitrate is the preferred (but very
water soluble) fertilizer.
Edward Birge, Chair
Department of Microbiology
Arizona State University
Box 872701
Tempe  AZ  85287-2701
(602) 965-2379 (Voice)
        965-0098 (FAX)

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