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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Dec;63(12):4679-85.

Dissimilatory nitrate reduction in anaerobic sediments leading to river nitrite accumulation.

Abstract

Recent studies on Northern Ireland rivers have shown that summer nitrite (NO(inf2)(sup-)) concentrations greatly exceed the European Union guideline of 3 (mu)g of N liter(sup-1) for rivers supporting salmonid fisheries. In fast-flowing aerobic small streams, NO(inf2)(sup-) is thought to originate from nitrification, due to the retardation of Nitrobacter strains by the presence of free ammonia. Multiple regression analyses of NO(inf2)(sup-) concentrations against water quality variables of the six major rivers of the Lough Neagh catchment in Northern Ireland, however, suggested that the high NO(inf2)(sup-) concentrations found in the summer under warm, slow-flow conditions may result from the reduction of NO(inf3)(sup-). This hypothesis was supported by field observations of weekly changes in N species. Here, reduction of NO(inf3)(sup-) was observed to occur simultaneously with elevation of NO(inf2)(sup-) levels and subsequently NH(inf4)(sup+) levels, indicating that dissimilatory NO(inf3)(sup-) reduction to NH(inf4)(sup+) (DNRA) performed by fermentative bacteria (e.g., Aeromonas and Vibrio spp.) is responsible for NO(inf2)(sup-) accumulation in these large rivers. Mechanistic studies in which (sup15)N-labelled NO(inf3)(sup-) in sediment extracts was used provided further support for this hypothesis. Maximal concentrations of NO(inf2)(sup-) accumulation (up to 1.4 mg of N liter(sup-1)) were found in sediments deeper than 6 cm associated with a high concentration of metabolizable carbon and anaerobic conditions. The (sup15)N enrichment of the NO(inf2)(sup-) was comparable to that of the NO(inf3)(sup-) pool, indicating that the NO(inf2)(sup-) was predominantly NO(inf3)(sup-) derived. There is evidence which suggests that the high NO(inf2)(sup-) concentrations observed arose from the inhibition of the DNRA NO(inf2)(sup-) reductase system by NO(inf3)(sup-).

PMID:
16535749
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC1389305
Free PMC Article
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