Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 124–127 | Cite as

Inhibition by ammonia of methane utilization in Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath)

  • Helle N. Carlsen
  • Lars Joergensen
  • Hans Degn
Environmental Microbiology


The kinetics of methane uptake by Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) and its inhibition by ammonia were studied by stopped-flow membrane-inlet mass spectrometry. Measurements were done on suspensions of cells grown in high- and low-copper media. With both types of cells the kinetics of methane uptake are hyperbolic when oxygen is in excess. The apparent Km and Kmax for methane uptake are both higher in low-copper cells than in high-copper cells. Ammonia is a simple competitive inhibitor of methane uptake in high-copper cells when the oxygen concentration is above a few μM. The findings agree with the assumption that ammonia is a week alternative substrate for particulate methane monooxygenase. In low-copper cells the effect of ammonia is complicated and cannot be explained in terms of current assumptions on the mechanism of soluble methane monooxygenase. Our data indicate that ammonia inhibition is likely to be a more serious problem in connection with cultivation in low-copper medium than in high-copper medium.


Oxygen Ammonia Methane Mass Spectrometry Oxygen Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helle N. Carlsen
    • 1
  • Lars Joergensen
    • 2
  • Hans Degn
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiochemistryOdense UniversityOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Dansk Bioprotein A/SOdense MDenmark

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