In a medium containing ammonia, proteose peptone, and cysteine as nitrogen sources, 17 of 24 Bacteroidaceae strains, 3 of Selenomonas strains, 1 of 7 curved rods, 3 of 7 Spirochaetaceae strains, 8 of 20 Eubacterium strains, 8 of 13 Peptococcaceae strains, 3 of 4 Clostridium strains, 19 of 20 Enterobacteriaceae strains, and 1 of 8 Streptococcus strains utilized ammonia nitrogen preferentially to proteose peptone nitrogen. To determine the ability of intestinal microbes to synthesize amino acids from ammonia, ammonia utilization by Bacteroides ruminicola strain 9 was studied in defined media containing ammonia and other nitrogen sources. In another medium containing ammonia, proteose peptone, and cysteine as nitrogen sources, ammonia was preferentially utilized even when the proteose peptone nitrogen content was eight times greater than that of ammonia nitrogen. In a medium containing ammonia, an amino acid, and cysteine, the lowest uptake of ammonia nitrogen was observed when the medium contained aspartic acid, glutamic acid, threonine, or alanine; but ammonia was utilized more effectively than any of the amino acids. Incorporation of 15N from [15N]ammonia into bacterial amino acids was studied. 15N was incorporated into every amino acid of B. ruminicola strain 9, and the highest uptake was observed in aspartic acid and alanine.