Microbial Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 129–139 | Cite as

Surface attachment of nitrifying bacteria and their inhibition by potassium ethyl xanthate

  • S. E. Underhill
  • J. I. Prosser


Ion exchange resins and glass microscope slides were used to investigate factors affecting attachment of nitrifying bacteria to solid surfaces and the effect of attachment on inhibition ofNitrobacter by potassium ethyl xanthate. The ammonium oxidizerNitrosomonas attached preferentially to cation exchange resins while the nitrite oxidizerNitrobacter colonized anion exchange resins more extensively. Colonization was always associated with growth, and the site of substrate (NH4+ or NO2) adsorption was the major factor in attachment and colonization. The specific growth rate of cells colonizing either ion exchange resin beads or glass surfaces was greater than that of freely suspended cells, butNitrobacter populations colonizing glass surfaces were more sensitive to the inhibitor potassium ethyl xanthate. The findings indicate that surface growth alone does not protect soil nitrifying bacteria from inhibition by potassium ethyl xanthate and explain different patterns of inhibition for ammonium and nitrite oxidizers in the soil.


Nitrite Cation Exchange Anion Exchange Specific Growth Rate Exchange Resin 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. Underhill
    • 1
  • J. I. Prosser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Aberdeen, Marischal CollegeAberdeenScotland

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