Nitrifying bacteria (obligate chemolithotrophs) get their energy from inorganic salts (by oxidizing ammonia and nitrates or fixing inorganic carbon dioxide) and usually do not use organic materials. They thrive in aerobic conditions. Nitrifying bacteria come from the genera Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter.
Denitrifying bacteria take nitrogen in the soil and convert it to atmospheric nitrogen under anaerobic conditions. Species include Thiobacillus denitrificans and Micrococcus denitrificans, as well as certain species of Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Achromobacter.
Nitrogen fixing bacteria thrive in both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. They take nitrogen gas and convert it to forms that other organisms can use. Species include Spirillum lipoferum, Rhizobium, Anabaena and Nostoc.
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