Activity and electron donor preference of two denitrifying bacterial strains identified by Raman gas spectroscopy

in: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2022)
Blohm, Annika; Kumar, Swatantar; Knebl, Andreas; Herrmann, Martina; Küsel, Kirsten; Popp, Jürgen; Frosch, Torsten
Human activities have greatly increased the input of reactive nitrogen species into the environment and disturbed the balance of the global N cycle. This imbalance may be offset by bacterial denitrification, an important process in maintaining the ecological balance of nitrogen. However, our understanding of the activity of mixotrophic denitrifying bacteria is not complete, as most research has focused on heterotrophic denitrification. The aim of this study was to investigate substrate preferences for two mixotrophic denitrifying bacterial strains, Acidovorax delafieldii and Hydrogenophaga taeniospiralis, under heterotrophic, autotrophic or mixotrophic conditions. This complex analysis was achieved by simultaneous identification and quantification of H2, O2, CO2, 14N2, 15N2 and 15N2O in course of the denitrification process with help of cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopic (CERS) multi-gas analysis. To disentangle electron donor preferences for both bacterial strains, microcosm-based incubation experiments under varying substrate conditions were conducted. We found that Acidovorax delafieldii preferentially performed heterotrophic denitrification in the mixotrophic sub-experiments, while Hydrogenophaga taeniospiralis preferred autotrophic denitrification in the mixotrophic incubation. These observations were supported by stoichiometric calculations. The results demonstrate the prowess of advanced Raman multi-gas analysis to study substrate use and electron donor preferences in denitrification, based on the comprehensive quantification of complex microbial gas exchange processes.

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