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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983 May; 45(5): 1545–1547.
PMCID: PMC242498

Nitrous oxide production by Escherichia coli is correlated with nitrate reductase activity.


Nitrous oxide production by Escherichia coli seems to result from the reduction of NO2- by NO3- reductase. This hypothesis is consistent with previous observations and with the observation that molybdenum was required for both NO3- reduction and N2O production. Several E. coli NO3- reductase mutants were assayed for both N2O-producing and NO3--reducing activity. The hypothesized role of NO3- reductase is supported by the correlation of these two activities. Nitrate reduction to NH4+ enhanced growth, but NO2- reduction to N2O apparently did not. Therefore, this process differs significantly from respiratory denitrification.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bleakley BH, Tiedje JM. Nitrous oxide production by organisms other than nitrifiers or denitrifiers. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 Dec;44(6):1342–1348. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hackett CS, MacGregor CH. Synthesis and degradation of nitrate reductase in Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol. 1981 Apr;146(1):352–359. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kaspar HF, Tiedje JM. Dissimilatory reduction of nitrate and nitrite in the bovine rumen: nitrous oxide production and effect of acetylene. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1981 Mar;41(3):705–709. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Smith MS. Dissimilatory Reduction of NO(2) to NH(4) and N(2)O by a Soil Citrobacter sp. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 Apr;43(4):854–860. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sperl GT, DeMoss JA. chlD gene function in molybdate activation of nitrate reductase. J Bacteriol. 1975 Jun;122(3):1230–1238. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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