A spherical microbe from the weird world of hot-water ocean vents has trumped the nitrogen-processing powers of all organisms previously studied.
Like some soil microbes and bacteria living in pea plants and their relatives, the microbe known as FS406-22 turns plain nitrogen (N2) into a form that other living creatures can use, explains Mausmi P. Mehta of the University of Washington in Seattle. However, FS406-22 does the chemistry at 92°C (198°F). That's 28°C above the record set by the previous champ, a microbe collected from sea sediments near Naples, Italy.
FS406-22 is also the first nitrogen fixer identified in an undersea vent, say Mehta and her Seattle