Nitrifying bacterium

Click here to see a larger image (JPEG) of this microbe.

Kingdom: Eubacteria
Scientific Name: Nitrosomonas
Image Courtesy of: Yuichi Suwa
Image Width: 3 microns
Image Technology: TEM


This is a cross section of a microbe which is a type of "nitrifier". Nitrifiers convert ammonia into nitrite and nitrate. Because of this, they are important in wastewater treatment plants because they get rid of excess ammonia. This organism, Nitrosomonas converts the ammonia into nitrite which is then converted to nitrate by another group of bacteria. Nitrosomonas is a problem in agriculture because it turns the ammonia,which is used as a fertilizer, into nitrite. Nitrite is a problem because it is not as easy for plants to use as is ammonia, and because nitrite can leach into groundwater where it may be a pollutant.