All oxygen levels are detrimental to the nitrogenase activity of Synechococcus RF-1 cells. In continuous light, cultures maintain a high dissolved oxygen concentration and a continuous but usually low rate of nitrogenase activity. Cultures adapted to a light-dark regimen will reduce acetylene almost exclusively during the dark periods. When switched to continuous light, they continue to exhibit a diurnal rhythm in nitrogenase activity. While in continuous light, each upsurge of nitrogenase activity coincides with a marked drop in the net oxygen production rate; this drop is due largely to a concomitant increase in the dark respiration rate of the culture. The endogenous nitrogenase activity rhythm can be induced in continuous light by periodically lowering the oxygen concentration of the culture by either bubbling nitrogen through it or by treating the culture with 3(3,4-dichlorophenol)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU or diuron).
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