Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Archaea In Hot Springs Use Ammonia For Energy: May Shed Light On Early Evolution

Date:
May 25, 2007
Source:
University of Georgia
Summary:
One of the most common groups of archaea (Crenarchaeota) and a group that includes members that live in hot springs, use ammonia as their energy source, according to a new study. Such a metabolic mode has not been found in any of the other known high-temperature archaea.

One of the sampling sites, a series of hot springs known as 'The Three Buddhas' in Nevada.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Georgia

Discovered in the late 1970s, archaea are one of the three main branches on the tree of life, with bacteria and eukaryotes such as plants and animals on the other two branches. But scientists are just now gaining a fuller understanding of what archaea do -- in an ecological sense -- to make a living.

A new study led by University of Georgia researchers and announced on Wednesday at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Toronto finds that crenarchaeota, one of the most common groups of archaea and a group that includes members that live in hot springs, use ammonia as their energy source. Chuanlun Zhang, lead author of the study and associate research scientist at UGA's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, said such a metabolic mode has not been found in any of the other known high-temperature archaea.

"The oxidation of ammonia was not thought to be a dominant process for crenarchaeota, but now we realize how important it is," said Zhang, who is also associate professor of marine sciences. His co-authors include researchers from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Montana State University, Savannah River National Laboratory, Harvard University and Yunnan University in China.

Zhang and his colleagues (Christopher Bagwell, SRNL; Brian Hedlund, UNLV; Bill Inskeep, MSU; WenJun Li, Yunnan University; Ann Pearson, Harvard; Christopher Romanek and Juergen Wiegel, UGA) sampled extensively from hot springs in the United States, China and Russia for crenarchaeota and found the widespread distribution of the presumed amoA genes, which microorganisms use to combine ammonia with oxygen, releasing useable energy.

Previous studies by other teams used a DNA-based forensic ecology approach to suggest crenarchaeota's role in converting ammonia in mundane environments such as sea water, soil and even waste treatment plants. Zhang said the results of this latest comprehensive study give a picture of the ecological role of crenarchaeota in more extreme environments such as the hot springs.

Because ammonia-oxidizing archaea are associated with a group of microorganisms that thrive in hot spring environments that are thought to resemble early conditions on Earth, Zhang said they may help scientists better understand the earliest stages of evolution on the planet.

"If we want to know how organisms evolved and how their metabolism evolved, we need to understand both the hot springs environment and the low-temperature environment," said Zhang. "Crenarchaeota are special because they thrive in both environments."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Georgia. "Archaea In Hot Springs Use Ammonia For Energy: May Shed Light On Early Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523093947.htm>.
University of Georgia. (2007, May 25). Archaea In Hot Springs Use Ammonia For Energy: May Shed Light On Early Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523093947.htm
University of Georgia. "Archaea In Hot Springs Use Ammonia For Energy: May Shed Light On Early Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523093947.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins