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Environ Microbiol. 2010 Dec;12(12):3264-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02301.x.

Denitrification at pH 4 by a soil-derived Rhodanobacter-dominated community.

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Institute of Water and Wetland Research, Department of Microbiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Soil denitrification is a major source of nitrous oxide emission that causes ozone depletion and global warming. Low soil pH influences the relative amount of N₂O produced and consumed by denitrification. Furthermore, denitrification is strongly inhibited in pure cultures of denitrifying microorganisms below pH 5. Soils, however, have been shown to denitrify at pH values as low as pH 3. Here we used a continuous bioreactor to investigate the possibility of significant denitrification at low pH under controlled conditions with soil microorganisms and naturally available electron donors. Significant NO₃⁻ and N₂O reduction were observed for 3 months without the addition of any external electron donor. Batch incubations with the enriched biomass showed that low pH as well as low electron donor availability promoted the relative abundance of N₂O as denitrification end-product. Molecular analysis of the enriched biomass revealed that a Rhodanobacter-like bacterium dominated the community in 16S rRNA gene libraries as well as in FISH microscopy during the highest denitrification activity in the reactor. We conclude that denitrification at pH 4 with natural electron donors is possible and that a Rhodanobacter species may be one of the microorganisms involved in acidic denitrification in soils.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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