Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 20 (20)

Influence of Hydrogen Electron Donor, Alkaline pH, and High Nitrate Concentrations on Microbial Denitrification: A Review

Affiliations
Review

Influence of Hydrogen Electron Donor, Alkaline pH, and High Nitrate Concentrations on Microbial Denitrification: A Review

Pierre Albina et al. Int J Mol Sci.

Abstract

Bacterial respiration of nitrate is a natural process of nitrate reduction, which has been industrialized to treat anthropic nitrate pollution. This process, also known as "microbial denitrification", is widely documented from the fundamental and engineering points of view for the enhancement of the removal of nitrate in wastewater. For this purpose, experiments are generally conducted with heterotrophic microbial metabolism, neutral pH and moderate nitrate concentrations (<50 mM). The present review focuses on a different approach as it aims to understand the effects of hydrogenotrophy, alkaline pH and high nitrate concentration on microbial denitrification. Hydrogen has a high energy content but its low solubility, 0.74 mM (1 atm, 30 °C), in aqueous medium limits its bioavailability, putting it at a kinetic disadvantage compared to more soluble organic compounds. For most bacteria, the optimal pH varies between 7.5 and 9.5. Outside this range, denitrification is slowed down and nitrite (NO2-) accumulates. Some alkaliphilic bacteria are able to express denitrifying activity at pH levels close to 12 thanks to specific adaptation and resistance mechanisms detailed in this manuscript, and some bacterial populations support nitrate concentrations in the range of several hundred mM to 1 M. A high concentration of nitrate generally leads to an accumulation of nitrite. Nitrite accumulation can inhibit bacterial activity and may be a cause of cell death.

Keywords: acclimation; denitrifying bacteria; high nitrate concentration; high pH; hydrogenotrophic denitrification; mineral carbon; nitrite accumulation.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Overview of the four steps of microbial denitrification.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Schematic representation of the canonical respiratory chain of denitrification after [29,30,31].
Figure 3
Figure 3
Schematic representation of the transcriptional regulation of the expression of genes encoding the different enzymes involved in denitrification in P. denitrificans [31,37].
Figure 4
Figure 4
Proportions of nitrite reduced and accumulated according to the initial nitrate concentration in bacterial cultures after [6,59,63,64,65].
Figure 5
Figure 5
The regulatory [NiFe] hydrogenase and membrane-bound [NiFe] hydrogenase in Ralstonia eutropha after [69,71].
Figure 6
Figure 6
Protective mechanisms of Bacillus sp. cultivated at pH 10.5, adapted from after [111,117].
Figure 7
Figure 7
Literature overview of the experiments of bacterial denitrification conducted at alkaline pH and/or at high nitrate concentrations.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article

References

    1. Mohsenipour M., Shahid S., Ebrahimi K. Removal techniques of nitrate from water. Asian J. Chem. 2014;26:7881–7886. doi: 10.14233/ajchem.2014.17136. - DOI
    1. Kapoor A., Viraraghavan T. Nitrate Removal from Drinking Water—Review. J. Environ. Eng. 1997;123:371–380. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9372(1997)123:4(371). - DOI
    1. Francis C.W., Hatcher C.W. Biological Denitrification of High-Nitrates Wastes Generated in the Nuclear Industry. Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Oak Ridge, TN, USA: 1980.
    1. Albrecht A., Bertron A., Libert M. Cement-Based Materials for Nuclear Waste Storage. Springer; New York, NY, USA: 2013. Microbial Catalysis of Redox Reactions in Concrete Cells of Nuclear Waste Repositories: A Review and Introduction; pp. 147–159.
    1. Stroes-Gascoyne S., Sergeant C., Schippers A., Hamon C.J., Nèble S., Vesvres M.-H., Barsotti V., Poulain S., Le Marrec C. Biogeochemical processes in a clay formation in situ experiment: Part D—Microbial analyses—Synthesis of results. Appl. Geochem. 2011;26:980–989. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.007. - DOI
Feedback