Pseudomonas pp 193-227 | Cite as

Denitrification by Pseudomonads: Control and Assembly Processes

  • Walter G. Zumft


Denitrification is part of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle driven by prokaryotes. The introduction of reduced nitrogen into the biosphere by nitrogen fixation is reversed by the sequential action of nitrification and denitrification. A complete denitrification process, yielding dinitrogen from nitrate, consists of four respiratory systems utilizing as electron acceptors: nitrate, nitrite, nitric oxide (NO), and nitrous oxide (N2O) (Figure 1). Backward-running reactions of the N-cycle, nitrate assimilation and nitrate ammonification, as well as a short circuit represented by the anammox process, are not depicted in Figure 1. Nitrate assimilation and ammonification depend on sets of different enzymes as those of nitrate respiration75, 92. The anammox reaction, which reduces nitrite at the expense of ammonia oxidation to form dinitrogen, had been postulated on theoretical grounds. It was recently found in the genus Planctomyces and seems to be of ecological importance78. Because the process allows the simultaneous removal of oxidized and reduced nitrogen, it attracts considerable attention as a new way of treating wastewater. Although denitrification is a mode of anaerobic respiration, the known denitrifying prokaryotes are nearly exclusively aerobic organisms which express the process facultatively. A main theme of denitrification research, therefore, is how bacteria perceive the environmental signals to tum on the alternative gene programs and regulate the coordinate expression of the denitrification apparatus.


Nitric Oxide Nitrate Reductase Nitrite Reductase Rhodobacter Sphaeroides Pseudomonas Stutzeri 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter G. Zumft
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für MikrobiologieUniversität KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany

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