Dissimiltory denitrification is widely used in the removal of nitrate and nitrite from municipal wastewater. An excess of nitrate can lead to eutrophication of waterways into which treated water is released. Elevated nitrite levels in drinking water can lead to problems due to its toxicity. Denitrification converts both compounds into harmless nitrogen gas.
Methanogenesis is a form of carbonate respiration that is exploited to produce methane gas by anaerobic digestion. Biogenic methane is used as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. On the negative side, uncontrolled methanogenesis in landfill sites releases large volumes of methane into the atmosphere, where it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas.
Specific types of anaerobic respiration are also used to convert toxic chemicals into less-harmful molecules. For example, toxic arsenate or selenate can be reduced to less toxic compounds by various bacteria.
Read more about this topic: Anaerobic Respiration
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