Kinetic studies on ammonia and methane oxidation by Nitrosococcus oceanus

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The kinetics of ammonia oxidation and the ability of a marine ammonia-oxidizing bacterium, Nitrosococcus oceanus, to metabolize methane were investigated in semicontinuous batch culture. The effects of inhibitors (acetylene and nitrapyrin) and coreactants were determined in order to elucidate the behavior of the ammonia oxygenase enzyme in N. oceanus. Acetylene and nitrapyrin were potent inhibitors and their effects were not mitigated by increased ammonia concentrations. Oxygen concentration had the effect of a mixed-type inhibitor; reduced oxygen inhibited the rate or ammonia oxidation at high substrate concentration but may enhance the rate at low substrate concentrations. Substrate affinity in terms of NH4+increased (Km decreased) with increasing pH. Optimal pH was about 8. Methane inhibited ammonia oxidation; the interaction was not simple competitive inhibition and the presence of multiple active sites on the enzyme was indicated by the behaviour of the inhibited treatments. Half-saturation constants for methane (Ki=6.6 μM) and ammonia (Km=8.1 μM) were similar. N. oceanus oxidized methanol and methane linearly over time, with CO2 and cell material being produced at approximately equal rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology


  • Kinetics of ammonia oxidation
  • Methane oxidation
  • Nitrosococcus oceanus


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