- Aerobic - this is where Nitrosomonas exhibits most rapid growth and is the best-known metabolic process. Using Ammonia + Oxygen to produce Nitrite.
- Anaerobic - Nitrosomonas can function as an ANAMMOX culture. In this pathway, Ammonium and Nitrite are the inputs with the final products being Nitrogen gas and H2O.
- Anoxic - Nitrosomonas uses nitrite as the terminal electron acceptor and can use various cell intermediates and a few organic compounds to provide energy for growth. Technically, the anaerobic pathways listed above can be included with the anoxic systems as both require nitrite.
Some Nitrosomonas species exhibit significant anaerobic growth - we have even found them in anaerobic digesters
For years, I have always been told that Nitrosomonas sp are obligate aerobic bacteria. We all accepted that Nitrosomonas used oxygen to convert ammonia into nitrite. That was the extent of their metabolic capabilities. However, Nitrosomonas have now been found to have a few other metabolic tricks available to survive in anoxic and anaerobic environments. How well does Nitrosomonas grow under D.O. limited environments, surprisingly well. In fact, Aster Bio's MCA tests on multiple anaerobic digesters has found significant Nitrosomonas populations. Here is what Nitrosomonas does in aerobic, anoxic, and anaerobic environments:
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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