The ammonia oxidizing archaea belong to taxonomic group of the Thaumarchaeota and are among the most abundant marine microorganisms. Yet, we are still discovering which factors allow them to thrive in the ocean: A new publication reveals that marine Thaumarchaeota have a broader metabolism than previously thought. This study shows that they are able to use , next to ammonia, cyanate and urea as an additional energy source. Both are organic nitrogen compounds and quite common in the oceans. Researchers from the MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen were also involved in the study.
Katharina Kitzinger, Cory C. Padilla, Hannah K. Marchant, Philipp F. Hach, Craig W. Herbold, Abiel T. Kidane, Martin Könneke, Sten Littmann, Maria Mooshammer, Jutta Niggemann, Sandra Petrov, Andreas Richter, Frank J. Stewart, Michael Wagner, Marcel M. M. Kuypers, Laura A. Bristow: Cyanate and Urea are Substrates for Nitrification by Thaumarchaeota in the Marine Environment. Nature Microbiology, DOI: 10.1038/s41564-018-0316-2