Nitrosomonas europaea, as an ammonia-oxidizing bacterium, has a high Fe requirement and has 90 genes dedicated to Fe acquisition. Under Fe-limiting conditions (0.2 mu M Fe), N. europaea was able to assimilate up to 70% of the available Fe in the medium even though it is unable to produce siderophores. Addition of exogenous siderophores to Fe-limited medium increased growth (final cell mass). Fe-limited cells had lower heme and cellular Fe contents, reduced membrane layers, and lower NH3_ and NH2OH-dependent O-2 consumption activities than Fe-replete cells. Fe acquisition-related proteins, such as a number of TonB-dependent Fe-siderophore receptors for ferrichrome and enterobactin and diffusion protein OmpC, were expressed to higher levels under Fe limitation, providing biochemical evidence for adaptation of N. europaea to Fe-limited conditions.