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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 Apr;43(4):854-60.

Dissimilatory Reduction of NO(2) to NH(4) and N(2)O by a Soil Citrobacter sp.

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  • 1Department of Agronomy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40546-0091.


Dissimilatory reduction of NO(2) to N(2)O and NH(4) by a soil Citrobacter sp. was studied in an attempt to elucidate the physiological and ecological significance of N(2)O production by this mechanism. In batch cultures with defined media, NO(2) reduction to NH(4) was favored by high glucose and low NO(3) concentrations. Nitrous oxide production was greatest at high glucose and intermediate NO(3) concentrations. With succinate as the energy source, little or no NO(2) was reduced to NH(4) but N(2)O was produced. Resting cell suspensions reduced NO(2) simultaneously to N(2)O and free extracellular NH(4). Chloramphenicol prevented the induction of N(2)O-producing activity. The K(m) for NO(2) reduction to N(2)O was estimated to be 0.9 mM NO(2), yet the apparent K(m) for overall NO(2) reduction was considerably lower, no greater than 0.04 mM NO(2). Activities for N(2)O and NH(4) production increased markedly after depletion of NO(3) from the media. Amendment with NO(3) inhibited N(2)O and NH(4) production by molybdate-grown cells but not by tungstate-grown cells. Sulfite inhibited production of NH(4) but not of N(2)O. In a related experiment, three Escherichia coli mutants lacking NADH-dependent nitrite reductase produced N(2)O at rates equal to the wild type. These observations suggest that N(2)O is produced enzymatically but not by the same enzyme system responsible for dissimilatory reduction of NO(2) to NH(4).

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