09 Nov 2022
09 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) synthesis by Microcystis aeruginosa

Federico Fabisik1, Benoit Guieysse1, Jonathan Procter2, and Maxence Plouviez1 Federico Fabisik et al.
  • 1Massey AgriFood Digital Lab, School of Food and Advanced Technology, Massey University, 4442, NZ
  • 2Earth Sciences Department, School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, 4442, NZ

Abstract. Pure cultures of Microcystis aeruginosa synthesized nitrous oxide (N2O) when supplied with nitrite (NO2-) in darkness (198.9 nmol·g-DW-1·h-1 after 24 hours) and illumination (163.1 nmol∙g-DW-1∙h-1 after 24 hours) whereas N2O production was negligible in abiotic controls supplied with NO2- and in cultures deprived of exogenous nitrogen. N2O production was also positively correlated to the initial NO2- and M. aeruginosa concentrations, but low to negligible when nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) were supplied as the sole exogenous N source instead of NO2-. A protein database search revealed M. aeruginosa possesses protein homologues to eukaryotic microalgae enzymes known to catalyse the successive reduction of NO2- into nitric oxide (NO) and N2O. Our laboratory study is the first demonstration that M. aeruginosa possesses the ability to synthesize N2O. As M. aeruginosa is a bloom-forming cyanobacterium found globally, further research (including field monitoring) is now needed to establish the significance of N2O synthesis by M. aeruginosa under relevant conditions (especially in terms of N supply). Further work is also needed to confirm the biochemical pathway and potential function of this synthesis.

Federico Fabisik et al.

Status: open (until 22 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1153', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Nov 2022 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Maxence Plouviez, 18 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1153', Anonymous Referee #2, 04 Dec 2022 reply

Federico Fabisik et al.

Federico Fabisik et al.


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Short summary
We show, for the first time, that pure cultures of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa can synthesize the potent greenhouse gas N2O using nitrite as substrate. Our findings have broad environmental implications because M. aeruginosa is globally found in freshwater ecosystems and is often the dominant species found in algae blooms. Further research is now needed to determine the occurrence and significance of N2O emissions from ecosystems rich with M. aeruginosa.