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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Presence of nitrate-accumulating sulfur bacteria and their influence on nitrogen cycling in a shallow coastal marine sediment.

Nitrate flux between sediment and water, nitrate concentration profile at the sediment-water interface, and in situ sediment denitrification activity were measured seasonally at the innermost part of Tokyo Bay, Japan. For the determination of sediment nitrate concentration, undisturbed sediment cores were sectioned into 5-mm depth intervals and each segment was stored frozen at -30 degrees C. The nitrate concentration was determined for the supernatants after centrifuging the frozen and thawed sediments. Nitrate in the uppermost sediment showed a remarkable seasonal change, and its seasonal maximum of up to 400 microM was found in October. The directions of the diffusive nitrate fluxes predicted from the interfacial concentration gradients were out of the sediment throughout the year. In contrast, the directions of the total nitrate fluxes measured by the whole-core incubation were into the sediment at all seasons. This contradiction between directions indicates that a large part of the nitrate pool extracted from the frozen surface sediments is not a pore water constituent, and preliminary examinations demonstrated that the nitrate was contained in the intracellular vacuoles of filamentous sulfur bacteria dwelling on or in the surface sediment. Based on the comparison between in situ sediment denitrification activity and total nitrate flux, it is suggested that intracellular nitrate cannot be directly utilized by sediment denitrification, and the probable fate of the intracellular nitrate is hypothesized to be dissimilatory reduction to ammonium. The presence of nitrate-accumulating sulfur bacteria therefore may lower nature's self-purification capacity (denitrification) and exacerbate eutrophication in shallow coastal marine environments.[1]


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