Genus nameNitrobacter
Alternative names
NCBI taxonomy ID911



16S gene copy number1

 In situOther
Hydrophobic cell surface

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

Aerobic heterotroph
Nitrite reduction

POSNEGVariableNot assessed


Nitrite oxidizer (NOB). Seems to play a minor role in WWTP 5. Can grow heterotrophically in the absence of nitrite and can reduce nitrate in the absence of oxygen. Considered to be r-strategists 6.

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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
Sulphate Reduction
Fatty Acids
Proteins/Amino Acids

Abundance Information

 10 % percentileMedian90 % percentile
Activated Sludge000

Predominant In-


[1] Daims, Nielsen, Nielsen, Schleifer, Wagner - 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. - 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. - 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. - Microbial community composition and function in wastewater treatment plants. - Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 81(1-4): 665-80.

[8] Siripong, Rittmann - 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 - 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 -

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The MiDAS taxonomy is a manual curation of the Silva database and is redistributed for non-commercial use only.


Citing MiDAS: McIlroy S.J., Saunders A.M., Albertsen M., Nierychlo M., McIlroy B., Hansen A.A., Karst S.M., Nielsen J.L., Nielsen P.H. (2015) MiDAS: the field guide to the microbes of activated sludge. Database, Vol. 2015

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