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Short description: Phylum of bacteria

Scientific classification e
Domain: Bacteria
(unranked): Tectomicrobia group
Phylum: Nitrospinae
Lücker et al. 2013
  • Nitrospinia

Nitrospinae is a bacterial phylum. Despite only few described species, members of this phylum are major nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in surface waters in oceans. By oxidation of nitrite to nitrate they are important in the process of nitrification in marine environments.[2]

Although genus Nitrospina is aerobic bacterium, it was shown to oxidize nitrite also in oxygen minimum zone of the ocean. Depletion of oxygen in such zones leads to preference of anaerobic processes such as denitrification and nitrogen loss through anammox. Nitrospina thus outweight nitrogen loss by nitrification also in these oxygen depleted zones.[3][4]

Among the cultivated isolates within the genus Nitrospina are Nitrospina gracilis[5][2] and Nitrospina watsonii.[6] Further genomes were resolved by culture-independent metagenome binning.[4] The two Nitrospina species are, however, distantly related to environmentally abundant uncultured Nitrospinae.[7] The two other strains were cultivated in 2020 each in the binary culture with alphaproteobacterial heterotroph. They are called Candidatus Nitrohelix vancouverensis and Candidatus Nitronauta litoralis. Candidatus Nitrohelix vancouverensis is closely related to uncultivated environmentally abundant Nitrospinae clades 1 and 2.[7]


The currently accepted taxonomy is based on the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN) [8] and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[9]

Phylum "Nitrospinae" Lucker et al. 2013

  • Class "Nitrospinia" Lucker et al. 2013
    • Order "Nitrospinales" Lucker et al. 2013
      • Family "Nitrospinaceae" Garrity, Bell & Lilburn 2006
        • Genus "Candidatus Nitrohelix" Mueller et al. 2021
          • "Ca. N. vancouverensis" Mueller et al. 2021
        • Genus "Candidatus Nitromaritima" Ngugi et al. 2016
        • Genus "Candidatus Nitronauta" Mueller et al. 2021
          • "Ca. N. litoralis" Mueller et al. 2021
        • Genus Nitrospina Watson & Waterbury 1971
          • N. gracilis Watson & Waterbury 1971
          • "N. watsonii" Spieck et al. 2014


  1. "Nitrospinae". Species. GBIF. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Genome of Nitrospina gracilis Illuminates the Metabolism and Evolution of the Major Marine Nitrite Oxidizer". Frontiers in Microbiology 4: 27. 2013. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00027. PMID 23439773. 
  3. "Nitrite oxidation in the upper water column and oxygen minimum zone of the eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean". The ISME Journal 7 (11): 2192–205. November 2013. doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.96. PMID 23804152. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Uncultured Nitrospina-like species are major nitrite oxidizing bacteria in oxygen minimum zones". The ISME Journal 13 (10): 2391–2402. October 2019. doi:10.1038/s41396-019-0443-7. PMID 31118472. 
  5. Watson, Stanley W.; Waterbury, John B. (1971). "Characteristics of two marine nitrite oxidizing bacteria, Nitrospina gracilis nov. gen. nov. sp. and Nitrococcus mobilis nov. gen. nov. sp.". Archiv für Mikrobiologie 77 (3): 203–230. doi:10.1007/bf00408114. ISSN 0302-8933. 
  6. Spieck, Eva; Keuter, Sabine; Wenzel, Thilo; Bock, Eberhard; Ludwig, Wolfgang (May 2014). "Characterization of a new marine nitrite oxidizing bacterium, Nitrospina watsonii sp. nov., a member of the newly proposed phylum "Nitrospinae"". Systematic and Applied Microbiology 37 (3): 170–176. doi:10.1016/j.syapm.2013.12.005. ISSN 0723-2020. PMID 24581679. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Mueller, Anna J.; Jung, Man-Young; Strachan, Cameron R.; Herbold, Craig W.; Kirkegaard, Rasmus H.; Wagner, Michael; Daims, Holger (March 2021). "Genomic and kinetic analysis of novel Nitrospinae enriched by cell sorting" (in en). The ISME Journal 15 (3): 732–745. doi:10.1038/s41396-020-00809-6. ISSN 1751-7362. PMID 33067588. 
  8. J.P. Euzéby. ""Nitrospinae"". List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN). Retrieved 2020-11-17. 
  9. .Sayers. "Nitrospinae". National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) taxonomy database. Retrieved 2020-11-17. 

See also Wikidata entry Q26714852.