Lehmann Moritz F.

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Moritz F.

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  • Article
    Impact of reactive surfaces on the abiotic reaction between nitrite and ferrous iron and associated nitrogen and oxygen isotope dynamics
    (European Geosciences Union, 2020-08-28) Visser, Anna-Neva ; Wankel, Scott D. ; Niklaus, Pascal A. ; Byrne, James M. ; Kappler, Andreas A. ; Lehmann, Moritz F.
    Anaerobic nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidation (NDFeO) is widespread in various aquatic environments and plays a major role in iron and nitrogen redox dynamics. However, evidence for truly enzymatic, autotrophic NDFeO remains limited, with alternative explanations involving the coupling of heterotrophic denitrification with the abiotic oxidation of structurally bound or aqueous Fe(II) by reactive intermediate nitrogen (N) species (chemodenitrification). The extent to which chemodenitrification is caused (or enhanced) by ex vivo surface catalytic effects has not been directly tested to date. To determine whether the presence of either an Fe(II)-bearing mineral or dead biomass (DB) catalyses chemodenitrification, two different sets of anoxic batch experiments were conducted: 2 mM Fe(II) was added to a low-phosphate medium, resulting in the precipitation of vivianite (Fe3(PO4)2), to which 2 mM nitrite (NO−2) was later added, with or without an autoclaved cell suspension (∼1.96×108 cells mL−1) of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. Concentrations of nitrite (NO−2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and iron (Fe2+, Fetot) were monitored over time in both set-ups to assess the impact of Fe(II) minerals and/or DB as catalysts of chemodenitrification. In addition, the natural-abundance isotope ratios of NO−2 and N2O (δ15N and δ18O) were analysed to constrain the associated isotope effects. Up to 90 % of the Fe(II) was oxidized in the presence of DB, whereas only ∼65 % of the Fe(II) was oxidized under mineral-only conditions, suggesting an overall lower reactivity of the mineral-only set-up. Similarly, the average NO−2 reduction rate in the mineral-only experiments (0.004±0.003 mmol L−1 d−1) was much lower than in the experiments with both mineral and DB (0.053±0.013 mmol L−1 d−1), as was N2O production (204.02±60.29 nmol L−1 d−1). The N2O yield per mole NO−2 reduced was higher in the mineral-only set-ups (4 %) than in the experiments with DB (1 %), suggesting the catalysis-dependent differential formation of NO. N-NO−2 isotope ratio measurements indicated a clear difference between both experimental conditions: in contrast to the marked 15N isotope enrichment during active NO−2 reduction (15εNO2=+10.3 ‰) observed in the presence of DB, NO−2 loss in the mineral-only experiments exhibited only a small N isotope effect (<+1 ‰). The NO−2-O isotope effect was very low in both set-ups (18εNO2 <1 ‰), which was most likely due to substantial O isotope exchange with ambient water. Moreover, under low-turnover conditions (i.e. in the mineral-only experiments as well as initially in experiments with DB), the observed NO−2 isotope systematics suggest, transiently, a small inverse isotope effect (i.e. decreasing NO−2 δ15N and δ18O with decreasing concentrations), which was possibly related to transitory surface complexation mechanisms. Site preference (SP) of the 15N isotopes in the linear N2O molecule for both set-ups ranged between 0 ‰ and 14 ‰, which was notably lower than the values previously reported for chemodenitrification. Our results imply that chemodenitrification is dependent on the available reactive surfaces and that the NO−2 (rather than the N2O) isotope signatures may be useful for distinguishing between chemodenitrification catalysed by minerals, chemodenitrification catalysed by dead microbial biomass, and possibly true enzymatic NDFeO.
  • Article
    Unchanged nitrate and nitrite isotope fractionation during heterotrophic and Fe(II)-mixotrophic denitrification suggest a non-enzymatic link between denitrification and Fe(II) oxidation
    (Frontiers Media, 2022-09-02) Visser, Anna-Neva ; Wankel, Scott D. ; Frey, Claudia ; Kappler, Andreas A. ; Lehmann, Moritz F.
    Natural-abundance measurements of nitrate and nitrite (NOx) isotope ratios (δ15N and δ18O) can be a valuable tool to study the biogeochemical fate of NOx species in the environment. A prerequisite for using NOx isotopes in this regard is an understanding of the mechanistic details of isotope fractionation (15ε, 18ε) associated with the biotic and abiotic NOx transformation processes involved (e.g., denitrification). However, possible impacts on isotope fractionation resulting from changing growth conditions during denitrification, different carbon substrates, or simply the presence of compounds that may be involved in NOx reduction as co-substrates [e.g., Fe(II)] remain uncertain. Here we investigated whether the type of organic substrate, i.e., short-chained organic acids, and the presence/absence of Fe(II) (mixotrophic vs. heterotrophic growth conditions) affect N and O isotope fractionation dynamics during nitrate (NO3–) and nitrite (NO2–) reduction in laboratory experiments with three strains of putative nitrate-dependent Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria and one canonical denitrifier. Our results revealed that 15ε and 18ε values obtained for heterotrophic (15ε-NO3–: 17.6 ± 2.8‰, 18ε-NO3–:18.1 ± 2.5‰; 15ε-NO2–: 14.4 ± 3.2‰) vs. mixotrophic (15ε-NO3–: 20.2 ± 1.4‰, 18ε-NO3–: 19.5 ± 1.5‰; 15ε-NO2–: 16.1 ± 1.4‰) growth conditions are very similar and fall within the range previously reported for classical heterotrophic denitrification. Moreover, availability of different short-chain organic acids (succinate vs. acetate), while slightly affecting the NOx reduction dynamics, did not produce distinct differences in N and O isotope effects. N isotope fractionation in abiotic controls, although exhibiting fluctuating results, even expressed transient inverse isotope dynamics (15ε-NO2–: –12.4 ± 1.3 ‰). These findings imply that neither the mechanisms ordaining cellular uptake of short-chain organic acids nor the presence of Fe(II) seem to systematically impact the overall N and O isotope effect during NOx reduction. The similar isotope effects detected during mixotrophic and heterotrophic NOx reduction, as well as the results obtained from the abiotic controls, may not only imply that the enzymatic control of NOx reduction in putative NDFeOx bacteria is decoupled from Fe(II) oxidation, but also that Fe(II) oxidation is indirectly driven by biologically (i.e., via organic compounds) or abiotically (catalysis via reactive surfaces) mediated processes co-occurring during heterotrophic denitrification.