Anaerobic Respiration - Ecological Importance

Ecological Importance

Anaerobic respiration plays a major role in the global nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon cycles through the reduction of the oxyanions of nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon to more-reduced compounds. Dissimilatory denitrification is the main route by which biologically fixed nitrogen is returned to the atmosphere as molecular nitrogen gas. Hydrogen sulfide, a product of sulfate respiration, is a potent neurotoxin and responsible for the characteristic 'rotten egg' smell of brackish swamps. Along with volcanic hydrogen sulfide, biogenic sulfide has the capacity to precipitiate heavy metal ions from solution, leading to the deposition of sulfidic metal ores.

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