SUMMARY: Nitrogen fixation (Nif)-derepressed mutants of consumed, under optimum conditions, 7.5 to 8.5 mol glucose per mol N fixed. The nitrogenase system of these mutants catalysed the production of about 1.3 mol H per mol N reduced. Almost one-third of the energy as ATP and reductant used by nitrogenase may be lost in H production, since an ATP/2e ratio of approximately 4 was obtained. Nitrogenase-catalysed H production was not substantially suppressed by increasing the partial pressure of N from 0.2 atm (20 kPa) to 1 atm (101 kPa). In the absence of N, H production catalysed by nitrogenase increased about threefold. It is concluded that nitrogenase-catalysed H production is of major importance in the overall efficiency of biological N fixation


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