nitrogen cycle

03/12/2012 - 14:30

A team of scientists has documented for the first time that animals can and do consume Archaea – a type of single-celled microorganism thought to be among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Archaea that consume the greenhouse gas methane were in turn eaten by worms living at deep-sea cold seeps off Costa Rica and the West Coast of the United States. Archaea perform many key ecosystem services including being involved with nitrogen cycling, and they are known to be the main mechanism by which marine methane is kept out of the atmosphere.

10/05/2011 - 08:30
The anaerobic oxidation of ammonia (anammox) is an important pathway in the nitrogen cycle that was only discovered in the 1980s. Currently, scientists estimate that about 50 percent of the nitrogen in the atmosphere is forged by this process. A group of specialized bacteria perform the anammox reaction, but so far scientists have been in the dark about how these bacteria could convert ammonia to nitrogen in the complete absence of oxygen. Now, 25 years after its discovery, they finally solved the molecular mechanism of anammox.