Addition of hydrogen or formate significantly enhanced the rate of consumption of nitrate in slurried core samples obtained from an active zone of denitrification in a nitrate-contaminated sand and gravel aquifer (Cape Cod, Mass.). Hydrogen uptake by the core material was immediate and rapid, with an apparent K(m) of 0.45 to 0.60 ??M and a V(max) of 18.7 nmol cm-3 h-1 at 30??C. Nine strains of hydrogen-oxidizing denitrifying bacteria were subsequently isolated from the aquifer. Eight of the strains grew autotrophically on hydrogen with either oxygen or nitrate as the electron acceptor. One strain grew mixotrophically. All of the isolates were capable of heterotrophic growth, but none were similar to Paracoccus denitrificans, a well-characterized hydrogen-oxidizing denitrifier. The kinetics for hydrogen uptake during denitrification were determined for each isolate with substrate depletion progress curves; the K(m)s ranged from 0.30 to 3.32 ??M, with V(max)s of 1.85 to 13.29 fmol cell-1 h-1. Because these organisms appear to be common constituents of the in situ population of the aquifer, produce innocuous end products, and could be manipulated to sequentially consume oxygen and then nitrate when both were present, these results suggest that these organisms may have significant potential for in situ bioremediation of nitrate contamination in groundwater.
Additional publication details
Autotrophic, hydrogen-oxidizing, denitrifying bacteria in groundwater, potential agents for bioremediation of nitrate contamination