Strukturbiologie von Elementzyklen: Thomas Barends
The discovery of anammox bacteria in the 1990's has dramatically changed our understanding of the global nitrogen cycle. These bacteria perform ANaerobic AMMonium Oxidation, combining ammonium with nitrite into molecular dinitrogen (N2) and water, yielding energy for the cell. The anammox process is responsible for up to 10% of the global nitrogen cycle, and in some ecosystems contributes up to 50% to the total N2 production. Biochemical studies, mainly by the group of Mike Jetten and coworkers in Nijmegen, have identified the enzymes involved, and showed that the central step in this process is the combination of nitric oxide and ammonia into the extremely unusual, highly toxic and reactive intermediate hydrazine.