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J Bacteriol. 1992 Mar;174(6):1891-6.

Effects of nitrate and nitrite on dissimilatory iron reduction by Shewanella putrefaciens 200.

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  • 1Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts 02543.


The inhibitory effects of nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2-) on dissimilatory iron (FE3+) reduction were examined in a series of electron acceptor competition experiments using Shewanella putrefaciens 200 as a model iron-reducing microorganism. S. putrefaciens 200 was found to express low-rate nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase, and ferrireductase activity after growth under highly aerobic conditions and greatly elevated rates of each reductase activity after growth under microaerobic conditions. The effects of NO3- and NO2- on the Fe3+ reduction activity of both aerobically and microaerobically grown cells appeared to follow a consistent pattern; in the presence of Fe3+ and either NO3- or NO2-, dissimilatory Fe3+ and nitrogen oxide reduction occurred simultaneously. Nitrogen oxide reduction was not affected by the presence of Fe3+, suggesting that S. putrefaciens 200 expressed a set of at least three physiologically distinct terminal reductases that served as electron donors to NO3-, NO2-, and Fe3+. However, Fe3+ reduction was partially inhibited by the presence of either NO3- or NO2-. An in situ ferrozine assay was used to distinguish the biological and chemical components of the observed inhibitory effects. Rate data indicated that neither NO3- nor NO2- acted as a chemical oxidant of bacterially produced Fe2+. In addition, the decrease in Fe3+ reduction activity observed in the presence of both NO3- and NO2- was identical to the decrease observed in the presence of NO2- alone. These results suggest that bacterially produced NO2- is responsible for inhibiting electron transport to Fe3+.

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