The bioenergetics of denitrification

A.H. Stouthamer, F C Boogerd, H W van Verseveld

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In anaerobically grown Paracoccus denitrificans the dissimilatory nitrate reductase is linked to the respiratory chain at the level of cytochromes b. Electron transport to nitrite and nitrous oxide involves c-type cytochromes. During electron transport from NADH to nitrate one phosphorylation site is passed, whereas two sites are passed during electron transport from NADH to oxygen, nitrite and nitrous oxide. The presentation of a respiratory chain as a linear array of electron carriers gives a misleading picture of the efficiency of energy conservation since the location of the reductases is not taken into account. For the reduction of nitrite and nitrous oxide, protons are utilized from the periplasmic space, whereas for the reduction of oxygen and nitrate, protons are utilized from the cytoplasmic side of the inner membrane. Evidence for two transport systems for nitrate was obtained. One is driven by the proton motive force; this system is used to initiate nitrate reduction. The second system is a nitrate-nitrite antiport system. A scheme for proton translocation and electron transport to nitrate, nitrite, nitrous oxide and oxygen is presented. The number of charges translocated across the membrane during flow of two electrons from NADH is the same for all nitrogenous oxides and is 67-71% of that during electron transfer to oxygen via cytochrome o. These findings are in accordance with growth yield studies. YMAX electron values determined in chemostat cultures for growth with various substrates and hydrogen acceptors are proportional to the number of charges translocated to these hydrogen acceptors during electron transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-53
Number of pages9
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1982


  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cytochromes
  • Electron Transport
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Hydrogen
  • NAD
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrogen
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Paracoccus denitrificans
  • Pseudomonas
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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