Denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) are two microbial processes that compete for oxidized nitrogen compounds in the environment. The objective of this work was to determine the role of nitrite versus nitrate as terminal electron acceptor on the competition between DNRA and denitrification. Initially, a mixed culture chemostat was operated under nitrate limitation and performed DNRA. Stepwise, the influent nitrate was replaced with nitrite until nitrite was the sole electron acceptor and N-source present. Despite changing the electron acceptor from nitrate to nitrite, the dominant process remained DNRA and the same dominant organism closely related to Geobacter lovleyi was identified. Contrary to previous studies conducted with a complex substrate in marine microbial communities, the conclusion of this work is that nitrate versus nitrite as electron acceptor does not generally control the competition between DNRA and denitrification. Our results show that the effect of this ratio must be interpreted in combination with other environmental factors, such as the type and complexity of the electron donor, pH, or sulfide concentrations.
- dissimilatory nitrate reduction