Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Oscillation of Nad (P) H Fluorescence in Escherichia Coli Culture Performing Dissimilative Nitrate/nitrite Reduction

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Publication Date

Fall 1998


When nitrate was added to anaerobic resting cultures of Escherichia coli, two different profiles of NAD(P)H fluorescence were observed. E. coli is known to reduce nitrate to ammonia via nitrite as an anaerobic respiration mechanism. The profile showing single-stage response corresponded to situations where the nitrite formed from nitrate reduction was immediately converted to ammonia. The other profile showing two-stage response resulted from a much slower reduction of nitrite than nitrate. Nitrite thus accumulated during the first stage and was gradually reduced to ammonia when nitrate was depleted, i.e. in the second stage. An undamped oscillation of NAD(P)H fluorescence was also observed in the cultures showing the two-stage response. The oscillation was always detected during the second stage and seldom during either the first stage or the recovered anaerobic stage (after complete nitrite reduction). It never occurred in the cultures showing the single-stage response. The period of oscillation ranged from 1 to 5min. The possibility of the common glycolytic oscillation being responsible is low, as judged from the current knowledge of the nitrate/nitrite reductases of E. coli and the observations in this study. This is the first report on the occurrence of oscillatory NAD(P)H fluorescence in E. coli.





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