Breathing poison: Microbial life on nitric oxide respiration

Nitric oxide (NO) is a central molecule in the global cycling of nitrogen, and also toxic. Little is known about if and how microbes can use NO as a substrate for growth. Scientists have now managed to grow a microbial community dominated by two, so-far unknown species on NO for more than four years (and counting) and study their metabolism in great detail. Their research provides insight into the physiology of NO-respiring microorganisms, which have pivotal roles in the control of climate active gases, waste removal, and the evolution of nitrate and oxygen respiration.