Low yield and abiotic origin of N2O formed by the complete nitrifier Nitrospira inopinata

K Dimitri Kits, Man-Young Jung, Julia Vierheilig, Petra Pjevac, Christopher J Sedlacek, Shurong Liu, Craig Herbold, Lisa Y Stein, Andreas Richter, Holger Wissel, Nicolas Brüggemann, Michael Wagner, Holger Daims

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

114 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrous oxide (N2O) and nitric oxide (NO) are atmospheric trace gases that contribute to climate change and affect stratospheric and ground-level ozone concentrations. Ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) are key players in the nitrogen cycle and major producers of N2O and NO globally. However, nothing is known about N2O and NO production by the recently discovered and widely distributed complete ammonia oxidizers (comammox). Here, we show that the comammox bacterium Nitrospira inopinata is sensitive to inhibition by an NO scavenger, cannot denitrify to N2O, and emits N2O at levels that are comparable to AOA but much lower than AOB. Furthermore, we demonstrate that N2O formed by N. inopinata formed under varying oxygen regimes originates from abiotic conversion of hydroxylamine. Our findings indicate that comammox microbes may produce less N2O during nitrification than AOB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1836
Pages (from-to)1836
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019


  • Ammonia/metabolism
  • Archaea/metabolism
  • Bacteria/drug effects
  • Climate Change
  • Cyclic N-Oxides/pharmacology
  • Imidazoles/pharmacology
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways/drug effects
  • Nitric Oxide/metabolism
  • Nitrification/drug effects
  • Nitrous Oxide/metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Soil Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Low yield and abiotic origin of N2O formed by the complete nitrifier Nitrospira inopinata'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this