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Correlations between in situ denitrification activity and nir-gene abundances in pristine and impacted prairie streams

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Graham, Professor Ian Head, Dr Charles Knapp

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Abstract

Denitrification is a process that reduces nitrogen levels in headwaters and other streams. We compared nirS and nirK abundances with the absolute rate of denitrification, the longitudinal coefficient of denitrification (i.e., K-den, which represents optimal denitrification rates at given environmental conditions), and water quality in seven prairie streams to determine if nir-gene abundances explain denitrification activity. Previous work showed that absolute rates of denitrification correlate with nitrate levels; however, no correlation has been found for denitrification efficiency, which we hypothesise might be related to gene abundances. Water-column nitrate and soluble-reactive phosphorus levels significantly correlated with absolute rates of denitrification, but nir-gene abundances did not. However, nirS and nirK abundances significantly correlated with K-den, as well as phosphorus, although no correlation was found between K-den and nitrate. These data confirm that absolute denitrification rates are controlled by nitrate load, but intrinsic denitrification efficiency is linked to nirS and nirK gene abundances. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham DW, Trippett C, Dodds WK, O'Brien JM, Banner EBK, Head IM, Smith MS, Yang RK, Knapp CW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Pollution

Year: 2010

Volume: 158

Issue: 10

Pages: 3225-3229

Print publication date: 17/08/2010

ISSN (print): 0269-7491

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6424

Publisher: Pergamon

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2010.07.010

DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.07.010


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