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Distribution and regulation of nitrate and nitrite reduction by Desulfovibrio and Desulfotomaculum species

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Rates of nitrate and nitrite reduction by cultures and washed suspensions of both natural isolates and culture collection strains of sulphate-reducing bacteria have been determined. Neither activity was detected in the Desulfotomaculum strains, but all Desulfovibrio strains reduced nitrite. Only the Desulfovibrio natural isolate FBA 20a was also able to reduce nitrate. Nitrate reduction by washed suspensions of strain FBA 20a was far more rapid than previously reported rates for sulphate-reducing bacteria [6.6 μmol NO 3 - reduced h-1 (mg dry weight)-1] and was regulated by nitrate induction and sulphate repression: it was insensitive to the product of nitrate reduction, ammonium ions. Cell yields from sulphate-limited cultures were proportional to the concentration of nitrate added with a yield coefficient of 28.0 g bacterial dry weight per mol of nitrate reduced. These results indicate that although the ability of strain FBA 20a to reduce nitrate is a physiologically significant process, it is a specialized property of only a few strains of Desulfovibrio isolates.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey A. Cole.

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Mitchell, G.J., Jones, J.G. & Cole, J.A. Distribution and regulation of nitrate and nitrite reduction by Desulfovibrio and Desulfotomaculum species. Arch. Microbiol. 144, 35–40 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00454953

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Key words

  • Sulphate-reducing bacteria
  • Dissimilatory nitrate reduction
  • Ammonium formation
  • Nitrite reductase regulation
  • Desulfovibrio
  • Desulfotomaculum