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ABSTRACT: 1. Free-energy calculations for pH7 showed that the oxidation of ammonia to hydroxylamine is endergonic and that the oxidations of hydroxylamine to nitrite and hydrazine to nitrogen are exergonic. It is suggested that the oxidation of ammonia requires the expenditure of energy. 2. The anaerobic dehydrogenation of hydrazine to nitrogen by extracts of the autotrophic nitrifying micro-organism, Nitrosomonas, in the presence of methylene blue as electron acceptor, was less rapid than the anaerobic dehydrogenation of hydroxylamine to nitric oxide. The inhibition by hydrazine of the dehydrogenation of hydroxylamine was attributed to substrate competition. 3. Whole cells in air did not produce nitrite from hydrazine. They produced nitrite from low concentrations of hydroxylamine more rapidly than from equimolar concentrations of ammonia; this result is consistent if hydroxylamine is an intermediate of the oxidation of ammonia. 4. The production of nitrite from hydroxylamine by whole cells was slightly inhibited by hydrazine, but the production of nitrite from ammonia was greatly inhibited and small amounts of hydroxylamine were formed. These results suggested that the dehydrogenation of hydroxylamine supplied energy required for the oxidation of ammonia and that hydroxylamine appeared because the energy production was replaced by that of the dehydrogenation of hydrazine. 5. The oxidation of hydroxylamine by whole cells was not inhibited by thiourea, but micromolar concentrations of the metal-binding agent markedly inhibited the oxidation of ammonia to hydroxylamine, suggesting that the oxidation of ammonia involved copper. A possible mechanism for the activation of ammonia is suggested.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC1206795 | BioStudies | 1965-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.1042/bj0950688

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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