Publication
Title
In quest of the nitrogen oxidizing prokaryotes of the early Earth
Author
Abstract
P>The introduction of nitrite and nitrate to the relatively reduced environment of the early Earth provided impetus for a tremendous diversification of microbial pathways. However, little is known about the first organisms to produce these valuable resources. In this review, the latest microbial discoveries are integrated in the evolution of the nitrogen cycle according to the great 'NO-ON' time debate, as we call it. This debate hypothesizes the first oxidation of nitrogen as abiotic and anoxic ('NO') versus biological and aerobic ('ON'). Confronting ancient biogeochemical niches with extant prokaryotic phylogenetics, physiology and morphology, pointed out that the well-described ammonia and nitrite oxidizing Proteobacteria likely did not play a pioneering role in microbial nitrogen oxidation. Instead, we hypothesize ancestral and primordial roles of methanotrophic NC10 bacteria and ammonia oxidizing archaea, respectively, for early nitrite production, and of anammox performing Planctomycetes followed by Nitrospira for early nitrate production. Additional genomic and structural information on the prokaryotic protagonists but also on their phages, together with the continued search for novel key players and processes, should further elucidate nitrogen cycle evolution. Through the ramifications between the biogeochemical cycles, this will improve our understanding on the evolution of terrestrial and perhaps extraterrestrial life.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Environmental microbiology. - Oxford
Publication
Oxford : 2011
ISSN
1462-2912
Volume/pages
13:2(2011), p. 283-295
ISI
000286835900002
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Publication type
Subject
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 09.02.2015
Last edited 03.08.2017