Anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria can convert ammonium ions into nitrogen gas in the absence of oxygen going via hydrazine, perhaps most well known as a rocket fuel. Now, researchers at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and their international colleagues have obtained a crystal structure of the protein central to this process, hydrazine synthase. This structure might now allow them to prove one way or another whether or not hydrazine synthesis occurs in two steps at two active sites. Such work is not only fundamental science but could ultimately lead to new biocatalytic processes for laboratory-scale or even industrial reactions.
Anammox for hydrazine