TitleProduction of NO(2) and N(2)O by Nitrifying Bacteria at Reduced Concentrations of Oxygen
AuthorsGoreau T. J., Kaplan W. A., Wofsy S. C., McElroy M. B., Valois F. W., Watson S. W.
PublicationAppl Environ Microbiol. 1980 Sep; 40(3):526-32.
AbstractPure cultures of the marine ammonium-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas sp. were grown in the laboratory at oxygen partial pressures between 0.005 and 0.2 atm (0.18 to 7 mg/liter). Low oxygen conditions induced a marked decrease in the rate for production of NO2, from 3.6 x 10 to 0.5 x 10 mmol of NO2 per cell per day. In contrast, evolution of N2O increased from 1 x 10 to 4.3 x 10 mmol of N per cell per day. The yield of N2O relative to NO2 increased from 0.3% to nearly 10% (moles of N in N2O per mole of NO2) as the oxygen level was reduced, although bacterial growth rates changed by less than 30%. Nitrifying bacteria from the genera Nitrosomonas, Nitrosolobus, Nitrosospira, and Nitrosococcus exhibited similar yields of N2O at atmospheric oxygen levels. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (Nitrobacter sp.) and the dinoflagellate Exuviaella sp. did not produce detectable quantities of N2O during growth. The results support the view that nitrification is an important source of N2O in the environment.