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Effect Of Oxygen Concentration On Dark Nitrogen Fixation And Respiration In Cyanobacteria

B. B. Jensen, R. P. Cox
Published 2004 · Biology

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Simultaneous measurements of acetylene reduction by Anabaena variabilis and the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the suspension were made using a specially designed vessel which allowed measurements under steady-state conditions. The rate of acetylene reduction in the dark increased with increasing oxygen concentrations until a maximum value was reached at 300 μM O2 (corresponding to 30% O2 in the gas phase at 35°C). This presumably results from a requirement for energy provided by respiration. Measurements of the dependence of respiration rate on dissolved oxygen concentration were made under comparable conditions using an open system to allow conditions close to steady-state to be obtained. The respiration rate of diazotrophically grown Anabaena variabilis had a dependence on oxygen concentration corresponding to the sum of two activities. These had Km values of 1.0 μM and 69 μM and values of Vmax of similar magnitude. Only the high affinity activity was observed in nitrate-grown cyanobacteria lacking heterocysts, and this presumably represent activity in the vegetative cells. The oxygen concentration dependence of the low affinity activity resembled that for the stimulation of acetylene reduction. We interpret this as the result of oxygen uptake by the heterocysts. The results are consistent with the idea that in intact filaments of cyanobacteria O2 enters heterocysts much more slowly than it enters the vegetative cells.
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