There are about 5 billion people on the planet now, and human waste has taken its toll on the environment. But ammonia, one of the most common noxious waste products, has a new enemy.
A bacterium discovered at a sewage treatment plant in Holland, breaths nitrite instead of oxygen. The odd life form has been busy consuming ammonia in parts of the treatment plant where there is no oxygen.
By eating away at ammonia unfettered by lack of oxygen, this new bacterium has the potential of saving medium-sized cities hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in sewage treatment costs.