A study was performed to gain insight into the mechanism of acid-tolerant, chemolithotrophic nitrification. Microorganisms that nitrified at pH 4 were enriched from two Dutch acid soils. Nitrate production in the enrichment cultures was indicated to be of a chemolithoautotrophic nature as it was (i) completely inhibited by acetylene at a concentration as low as 1-mu-mol/liter and (ii) strongly retarded under conditions of carbon dioxide limitation. Electron microscopy of the enrichment cultures showed the presence of bacteria that were morphologically similar to strains of known chemolithotrophic nitrifying genera. Many of the enriched bacteria, in particular those that were identified as ammonium oxidizers, were aggregated. Filtration experiments indicated that aggregated cells were able to nitrify at low pH, whereas single cells were not. It is hypothesized that cells inside the aggregates are protected against the toxicity of nitrous acid. Nitrification by aggregated chemolithoautotrophic bacteria may be the dominating process of nitrate formation in many acid soils as it does not appear to depend on the existence of microsites of high pH (acid-sensitive autotrophic nitrification) or on the availability of organic carbon (heterotrophic nitrification).
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Applied and environmental microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - Dec-1991|
- ACID FOREST SOIL
- HETEROTROPHIC NITRIFICATION
- AUTOTROPHIC NITRIFICATION
- HEATH SOIL