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J Biochem. 1998 Oct;124(4):811-5.

Effect of long-term ammonia starvation on the oxidation of ammonia and hydroxylamine by Nitrosomonas europaea.

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  • 1Institut für Chemie und Dynamik der Geosphäre 6, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany.


Axenic cultures of the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas europaea were starved of ammonia (energy source) for up to 342 d. During this time the bacteria retained the ability to respond instantly to ammonia (1 mM) or hydroxylamine (0.1 mM) amendment by oxidizing it to nitrite without initial protein synthesis. In vivo, the ability to oxidize amended ammonia stayed almost constant during the starvation period, but a drop in the hydroxylamine oxidation rate (to 33%) was observed after 4 wk of starvation when exogenous hydroxylamine was supplied as sole energy source. In contrast, it has been shown that the level and in vitro activity of hydroxylamine oxidoreductase were not significantly affected during the starvation period. Only minor changes were detected between the protein patterns on one-dimensional SDS-PAGE of growing and starved cells. Thus, it is concluded that the activities of the energy-generating enzymes in N. europaea were not affected during long-term ammonia starvation.

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