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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Apr;64(4):1514-21.

Ammonium Limitation Results in the Loss of Ammonia-Oxidizing Activity in Nitrosomonas europaea.

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  • 1Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331.

Abstract

The effects of limiting concentrations of ammonium on the metabolic activity of Nitrosomonas europaea, an obligate ammonia-oxidizing soil bacterium, were investigated. Cells were harvested during late logarithmic growth and were incubated for 24 h in growth medium containing 0, 15, or 50 mM ammonium. The changes in nitrite production and the rates of ammonia- and hydroxylamine-dependent oxygen consumption were monitored. In incubations without ammonium, there was little change in the ammonia oxidation activity after 24 h. With 15 mM ammonium, an amount that was completely consumed, there was an 85% loss of the ammonia oxidation activity after 24 h. In contrast, there was only a 35% loss of the ammonia oxidation activity after 24 h in the presence of 50 mM ammonium, an amount that was not consumed to completion. There was little effect on the hydroxylamine oxidation activity in any of the incubations. The loss of ammonia oxidation activity was not due to differences in steady-state levels of ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) mRNA (amoA) or to degradation of the active site-containing subunit of AMO protein. The incubations were also conducted at a range of pH values to determine whether the loss of ammonia oxidation activity was correlated to the residual ammonium concentration. The loss of ammonia oxidation activity after 24 h was less at lower pH values (where the unoxidized ammonium concentration was higher). When added in conjunction with limiting ammonium, short-chain alkanes, which are alternative substrates for AMO, prevented the loss of ammonia oxidation activity at levels corresponding to their binding affinity for AMO. These results suggest that substrates of AMO can preserve the ammonia-oxidizing activity of N. europaea in batch incubations by protecting either AMO itself or other molecules associated with ammonia oxidation.

PMID:
16349550
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC106179
Free PMC Article
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