Settled science is a dreadful phrase.
A knowledge gap in the Nitrogen Cycle was first identified in 1932.
In 1932, it was reported that dinitrogen gas was generated via an unknown mechanism during fermentation in the sediments of Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA.
From the 1940s to the 1970s, several studies indicated that a microbe was missing from nature that could anaerobically oxidize ammonium, with nitrate or nitrite, to dinitrogen gas and that the nitrogen cycle thus contained more reactions than was known at that time.
Anaerobic Ammonium-Oxidizing Bacteria:
Unique Microorganisms with Exceptional Properties
Laura van Niftrik and Mike S. M. Jetten
Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. September 2012 vol. 76 no. 3 585-596
Therefore, it was “a great surprise” when this knowledge gap was finally filled in 1999 by the discovery of the Anammox bacteria.
Until now, bacteria capable of anaerobically oxidizing ammonia had never been found and were known as “lithotrophs missing from…
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