SUMMARY: At dissolved oxygen tensions of 15 mmHg (2 kPa) and below, nitrate-limited continuous cultures of K312 synthesized nitrate reductase (NR) and nitrite reductase (NiR) and excreted ammonia. Under anaerobic conditions over 60% of the nitrate-nitrogen utilized was excreted as ammonia. In contrast, carbon-limited cultures excreted nitrite at dissolved oxygen tensions of 15 mmHg or below and synthesized NR but not NiR. Ammonia repressed neither NR nor NiR synthesis. These observations indicate that below a critical oxygen tension of 15 mmHg K312 utilizes oxygen and nitrate as electron acceptors. This oxygen tension correlates well with the critical oxygen tension observed for a change from oxidative to fermentative metabolism in cultures of . The product of dissimilatory nitrate reduction is ammonia in nitrate-limited cultures but principally nitrite in carbon-limited (nitrate excess) cultures.


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