1887

Abstract

Global warming is moving more and more into the public consciousness. Besides the commonly mentioned carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide (NO) is a powerful greenhouse gas in addition to its contribution to depletion of stratospheric ozone. The increasing concern about NO emission has focused interest on underlying microbial energy-converting processes and organisms harbouring NO reductase (NosZ), such as denitrifiers and ammonifiers of nitrate and nitrite. Here, the epsilonproteobacterial model organism is investigated with regard to its capacity to produce and consume NO during growth by anaerobic nitrate ammonification. This organism synthesizes an unconventional cytochrome nitrous oxide reductase (NosZ), which is encoded by the first gene of an atypical gene cluster. However, lacks a nitric oxide (NO)-producing nitrite reductase of the NirS- or NirK-type as well as an NO reductase of the Nor-type. Using a robotized incubation system, the wild-type strain and suitable mutants of that either produced or lacked NosZ were analysed as to their production of NO, NO and N in both nitrate-sufficient and nitrate-limited growth medium using formate as electron donor. It was found that cells growing in nitrate-sufficient medium produced small amounts of NO, which derived from nitrite and, most likely, from the presence of NO. Furthermore, cells employing NosZ were able to reduce NO to N. This reaction, which was fully inhibited by acetylene, was also observed after adding NO to the culture headspace. The results indicate that cells are competent in NO and N production despite being correctly grouped as respiratory nitrate ammonifiers. NO production is assumed to result from NO detoxification and nitrosative stress defence, while NO serves as a terminal electron acceptor in anaerobic respiration. The ecological implications of these findings are discussed.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award SI 848/4-1)
  • Norwegian Research Council
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2014-08-01
2021-08-05
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