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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 1, p. 91-95
    Received: July 13, 1970
    Accepted: Oct 9, 1970

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Kinetics of Nitrification in Soil: Growth of the Nitrifiers1

  1. A. Douglas McLaren2



Nitrification leads to growth of nitrifiers but also includes both maintenance and waste metabolism. The relative proportions of the three kinds of metabolism have yet to be measured, but waste and maintenance together are known to predominate. Rates of nitrification may be taken as proportional to growth of nitrifiers provided populations are small compared to the carrying capacity of the environment and provided that substrate concentrations are high enough to yield maximum specific growth rates. This applies to growth and metabolism in both batch culture and column perfusion studies.

Equations have been derived which describe populations of nitrifying organisms as functions of depth of columns being perfused with nutrients (ammonium or nitrite) and nutrient concentration profiles in an idealized soil. Typically, growth of nitrite oxidizers will lag behind ammonium oxidizers behind the flow front during perfusion of short soil columns with ammonium.

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