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J Shan, RA Sanford, J Chee-Sanford, SK Ooi, FE Löffler, KT Konstantinidis and WH Yang
Abstract
Many biotic and abiotic processes contribute to nitrous oxide (N2 O) production in the biosphere, but N2 O consumption in the environment has heretofore been attributed primarily to canonical denitrifying microorganisms. The nosZ genes encoding the N2 O reductase enzyme, NosZ, responsible for N2 O reduction to dinitrogen are now known to include two distinct groups: the well-studied Clade I which denitrifiers typically possess, and the novel Clade II possessed by diverse groups of microorganisms, most of which are non-denitrifiers. Clade II N2 O reducers could play an important, previously unrecognized role in controlling N2 O emissions for several reasons, including: (1) the consumption of N2 O produced by processes other than denitrification, (2) hypothesized non-respiratory functions of NosZ as an electron sink or for N2 O detoxification, (3) possible differing enzyme kinetics of Clade II NosZ compared to Clade I NosZ, and (4) greater nosZ gene abundance for Clade II compared to Clade I in soils of many ecosystems.
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