The existence of a pathway for salvaging the coenzyme B(12) precursor dicyanocobinamide (Cbi) from the environment was established by genetic and biochemical means. The pathway requires the function of a previously unidentified amidohydrolase enzyme that converts adenosylcobinamide to adenosylcobyric acid, a bona fide intermediate of the de novo coenzyme B(12) biosynthetic route. The cbiZ gene of the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei strain Göl was cloned, was overproduced in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant protein was isolated to homogeneity. HPLC, UV-visible spectroscopy, MS, and bioassay data established adenosylcobyric as the corrinoid product of the CbiZ-catalyzed reaction. Inactivation of the cbiZ gene in the extremely halophilic archaeon Halobacterium sp. strain NRC-1 blocked the ability of this archaeon to salvage Cbi. cbiZ function restored Cbi salvaging in a strain of the bacterium Salmonella enterica, whose Cbi-salvaging pathway was blocked. The salvaging of Cbi through the CbiZ enzyme appears to be an archaeal strategy because all of the genomes of B(12)-producing archaea have a cbiZ ortholog. Reasons for the evolution of two distinct pathways for Cbi salvaging in prokaryotes are discussed.