Christa Schleper, head of the department of Genetics in Ecology at the University of Vienna, along with a few other colleagues, have obtained an ammonia oxidizing archaeon from soil, which is available in its pure form. The team has worked to study the physiological activity of archaeal ammonia oxidizers, also known as the Nitrososphaera viennensis.
Nitrososphaera viennensis is cultivated in its pure form at the University Center’s garden at Althanstrasse in Vienna's 9th district. It is spherical in shape and it measures 0.8ìm in diameter.
Nitrososphaera viennensis does not share the same characteristics as bacterial ammonia oxidizers. NanoSIMS demonstrated that Nitrososphaera viennensis requires ammonia, carbon dioxide, and a minimal quantity of organic material for development.
Schleper says that Nitrososphaera viennensis is unlike bacteria, which prefer rich fertile agricultural soils. She confirmed that it grows well even under low nutrient soils like pristine soils and they usually inhabit volcanic hot springs and are regarded as evolutionary remnants.
Schleper stated that the study of Nitrososphaera viennensis will be useful in improving agriculture as it ensures more nitrogen to be available for plants. She stated that it will also help to collect nitrate in groundwaters.