Physiology, Biochemistry and Genetics of Nitrate Dissimilation to Ammonia

  • J. A. Cole
Part of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Symposium Series book series (FEMS, volume 56)


Many textbooks, symposium publications and even edited papers in leading journals present denitrification as the only dissimilatory pathway for bacterial NO 3 reduction. In fact, the rapid, dissimilatory reduction to NH 4 + by fermentative bacteria was documented many years ago (see, for example, Woods, 1938). As the limited literature on NO 3 dissimilation to NH 4 + published before 1988 has recently been reviewed extensively (Cole, 1988; 1989), this article will focus on recent developments which confirm or conflict with the previous conclusions. Although the practical importance of denitrification by essentially respiratory bacteria is beyond doubt, Figure 1 presents it — possibly for the first time — in the context of the emerging diversity of enzymes which have evolved to dissimilate NO 3 and NO 2 in different bacterial groups.


Nitrate Reductase Nitrite Reductase Anaerobic Growth Nitrite Reduction Fermentative Bacterium 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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