NitrobacterDid we forget anything? Let us know

Genus nameNitrobacter
Alternative names
NCBI taxonomy ID911

Taxonomy (MiDAS 2.0)


16S gene copy number1

 In situOther
Hydrophobic cell surface

Electron micrograph of N. Hamburgensis. PHB = polyhydroxybutyrate. C = Carboxysomes. - Source:4

Aerobic heterotroph
Nitrite reduction
Short-chain fatty acids
Proteins/Amino acids

POSNEGVariableNot assessed


Nitrite oxidizer (NOB). Seems to play a minor role in WWTP 5. Considered to be r-strategists 6. Pleomorphic rod‐ or pear‐shaped. Can grow lithoautotrophically under oxic conditions where nitrite is the preferred energy source and carbon dioxide is the main source of carbon. Can also grow chemoorganotrophically under anoxic conditions by anaerobic respiration with nitrate 15.

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Distribution plant/process configuration

Nitrobacter are considered r-strategists with low affinities to oxygen and nitrite and are adapted to a relatively higher level of nitrite than is available in most treatment plants, explaining why they are outcompeted by the K-strategist Nitrospira 7. They may occur in plants with spatially or temporally elevated nitrite concentrations 7 and they have been observed to co-exist with Nitrospira in some instances 1 8.

FISH probes

NIT3 5


 In situOther
Aerobic Heterotroph49
Nitrite Reduction2311
Sulfate Reduction
Short-chain Fatty Acids49
Proteins/Amino Acids4

Abundance Information

 10 % percentileMedian90 % percentile
Activated Sludge000

Predominant In-


[1] Daims, Nielsen, Nielsen, Schleifer, Wagner (2001): In situ characterization of Nitrospira-like nitrite-oxidizing bacteria active in wastewater treatment plants. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67 (11): 5273-84. doi:10.1128/AEM.67.11.5273-5284.2001

[2] Starkenburg, Chain, Sayavedra-Soto, Hauser, Land, Larimer, et al. (2006): Genome sequence of the chemolithoautotrophic nitrite-oxidizing bacterium Nitrobacter winogradskyi Nb-255. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72 (3): 2050-63. doi:10.1128/AEM.72.3.2050-2063.2006

[3] Starkenburg, Larimer, Stein, Klotz, Chain, Sayavedra-Soto, et al. (2008): Complete genome sequence of Nitrobacter hamburgensis X14 and comparative genomic analysis of species within the genus Nitrobacter. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74 (9): 2852-63. doi:10.1128/AEM.02311-07

[4] Bock, E., Sundermeyer-Klinger, H., Stackebrandt, E. (1983) New facultative lithoautotrophic nitrite-oxidizing bacteria. Arch. Microbiol. 136: 281-284 - Bock Et Al 1983 -

[5] Wagner, M., Rath, G., Koops, H.P., Flood, J., Amann, R. (1996) In situ analysis of nitrifying bacteria in sewage treatment plants. Water Sci. Technol. 34(1-2): 237-244 - Wagner Et Al 1996 -

[6] Daims H. And Wagner M. (2010) The microbiology of nitrogen removal In: Microbial Ecology of Activated Sludge. Seviour R.J. & Nielsen P.H. (eds.). IWA Publishing. London, UK. - Daims And Wagner 2010 -

[7] Wagner, Loy, Nogueira, Purkhold, Lee, Daims, et al. (2002): Microbial community composition and function in wastewater treatment plants. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 81 (1-4): 665-80.

[8] Siripong, Rittmann (2007): Diversity study of nitrifying bacteria in full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plants. Water Res. 41 (5): 1110-20. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2006.11.050

[9] Bock, E., Koops. H.P., Moller, U.C., Rudert, M. (1990) A new facultatively nitrite oxidising bacterium, Nitrobacter vulgaris sp. Nov. Arch. Microbiol. 153: 105-110 - Bock Et Al 1990 -

[10] Sorokin, Muyzer, Brinkhoff, Kuenen, Jetten (1998): Isolation and characterization of a novel facultatively alkaliphilic Nitrobacter species, N. alkalicus sp. nov. Arch. Microbiol. 170 (5): 345-52.

[11] Freitag, A., Rudert M., and Bock, E. (1987) Growth of Nitrobacter by dissimilatoric nitrate reduction. FEMS letters. 48: 105-109. - Freitag Et Al 1987 -

[12] Mobarry, Wagner, Urbain, Rittmann, Stahl (1996): Phylogenetic probes for analyzing abundance and spatial organization of nitrifying bacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62 (6): 2156-62.

[13] Winslow, Broadhurst, Buchanan, Krumwiede, Rogers, Smith, et al. (1917): The Families and Genera of the Bacteria: Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Society of American Bacteriologists on Characterization and Classification of Bacterial Types. J. Bacteriol. 2 (5): 505-66.

[14] - NCBI genome database, NCBI id 911 -

[15] - -

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