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Environmental Microbiology, 2008      Cultivation of a thermophilic ammonia oxidizing archaeon synthesizing crenarchaeol
José R. de la Torre, Christopher B. Walker, Anitra E. Ingalls, Martin Könneke and David A. Stahl
Environmental Microbiology, 2008

The widespread occurrence and diversity of ammonia oxidizing Archaea suggests their contribution to the nitrogen cycle is of global significance. Their distribution appeared limited to low- and moderatetemperature environments until the recent finding of a diagnostic membrane lipid, crenarchaeol, in terrestrial hot springs. We report here the cultivation of a thermophilic nitrifier (‘Candidatus Nitrosocaldus yellowstonii’), an autotrophic crenarchaeote growing up to 74°C by aerobic ammonia oxidation. The major core lipid of this archaeon growing at 72°C is crenarchaeol, providing the first direct evidence for its synthesis by a thermophile. These findings greatly extend the upper temperature limit of nitrification and document that the capacity for ammonia oxidation is broadly distributed among the Crenarchaeota.

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