HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Microbiologists find a new source of nitrogen fixation

Corkscrew bacteria in termite guts and natural waters help capture a key element

Microbiologists have discovered that a type of bacteria found in termite guts and in fresh and salt water plays a major role in the process of nitrogen fixation. All organisms require the element to survive.

In the June 29 issue of the journal Science, a team led by National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded microbiologist John Breznak of Michigan State University (MSU) reports that spirochetes - spiral and wavy-shaped bacteria - are important providers of nitrogen in termites, whose ability to thrive despite a nitrogen-poor diet of plant matter had posed a decades old puzzle.

Although nitrogen gas makes up 80 percent of the air we breathe, only certain microbes can capture and use it for growth - a process called nitrogen fixation. Once nitrogen gas becomes "fixed" by microbes, it enters the food chain and is ultimately used by plants and animals.

Scientists have known for about 30 years that nitrogen fixation occurs within termites and could furnish up to 60 percent of the insects' nitrogen needs. But the particular microbes performing that fixation had been unclear. With colleagues at MSU and the California Institute of Technology, Breznak isolated spirochetes from termite guts and grew them in test tubes where they could be examined in detail.

"The spirochetes not only contained the genes for nitrogen fixation," Breznak said, "they performed nitrogen fixation at rates consistent with those seen in living termites. This was very exciting, because nitrogen fixation had never been described before in these fascinating, widely distributed bacteria."

The researchers then examined other spirochetes and found that nitrogen fixation also occurs in free-living, aquatic spirochetes, implying that their impact is global. They also found genes for nitrogen fixation in spirochetes that inhabit the human mouth and the intes
'"/>

Contact: Tom Garritano
tgarrita@nsf.gov
703-292-8070
National Science Foundation
28-Jun-2001


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. New Arizona State center brings science to policy on issues of water resources and urban growth
2. Posters highlight water, energy and other natural resource research
3. Tufts University establishes $4 million dollar tissue engineering resource center
4. Review article makes case for a new source of cells in the body
5. Most Americans not sure about the sources of high cholesterol
6. National Bioinformatics Resource Center to support infectious disease research
7. Cardiofunk mutation: Probable source of congenital heart defects
8. Nerac to expand patent collection with 17 more resources
9. Crystallographers take note: A synchrotron light source for your home lab
10. Bay area to get unique x-ray microscopy resource
11. Workshop for new synchrotron light source at Brookhaven

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Microbiologists find new source nitrogen fixation

(Date:4/17/2014)... State University engineer has developed a patented technique ... explosive devices. The same technique could help police ... M. and Kay L. Theede chair in engineering ... and his research team have created a template-based ... car trunks. The distance detection method called ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... in Europe, Asia and the United States are spreading ... impacting native honeybee populations at this time, according to ... including Nosema microsporidia and Varroa ... to these invasive pests, which suggests to us that ... and the United States currently are not necessary in ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology ... with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which ... Neotrogla , are the first example of an ... has been identified in several different animals, Neotrogla ... organ is also reversed," says Kazunori Yoshizawa from Hokkaido ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives 2East African honeybees are safe from invasive pests… for now 2East African honeybees are safe from invasive pests… for now 3In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises 2
(Date:1/15/2014)... (PRWEB) January 15, 2014 This webinar ... nonclinical and clinical safety assessment in biosimilars. , Regulatory ... for biosimilar drug development, however the complex nature of ... quality, safety and efficacy extremely challenging. Based on the ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... DTS Language Services, Inc . is pleased ... Life Science organizations who need document translations. Clients will ... their documents in advance with a selection of nearly 50 ... often a critical factor in clinical and scientific fields, and ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... January 14, 2014 Date: Friday, April 11, ... Warrington Country Club, 1360 Almshouse Road, Warrington, Pa. ... organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B ... will host its annual Crystal Ball on Friday, April 11 ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... New York, NY (PRWEB) January 14, 2014 ... coverage of Alliqua, Inc. (OTCQB: ALQA). Alliqua is an ... products to serve the wound care market. , Free ... Alliqua was restructured with a seasoned management team and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Xtalks Life Sciences Webinar Examines Safety Assessment of Biosimilars 2DTS Improves Efficiency for Life Science Document Translations 2Hepatitis B Foundation to Host Annual Crystal Ball Gala 2EquitiesIQ Initiates Coverage of Alliqua, Inc. 2EquitiesIQ Initiates Coverage of Alliqua, Inc. 3
Cached News: