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Review article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Diversity and ecology of NrfA-dependent ammonifying microorganisms

Saghai, Aurelien; Hallin, Sara


Nitrate ammonifiers are a taxonomically diverse group of microorganisms that reduce nitrate to ammonium, which is released, and thereby contribute to the retention of nitrogen in ecosystems. Despite their importance for understanding the fate of nitrate, they remain a largely overlooked group in the nitrogen cycle. Here, we present the latest advances on free-living microorganisms using NrfA to reduce nitrite during ammonification. We describe their diversity and ecology in terrestrial and aquatic environments, as well as the environmental factors influencing the competition for nitrate with denitrifiers that reduce nitrate to gaseous nitrogen species, including the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). We further review the capacity of ammonifiers for other redox reactions, showing that they likely play multiple roles in the cycling of elements.

Published in

Trends in Microbiology
2024, Volume: 32, number: 6, pages: 602-613
Publisher: CELL PRESS