The classic definition of denitrification is the stepwise reduction of nitrate (NO-) to dinitrogen gas (N2)
nitrate ! nitrite ! nitric oxide ! nitrous oxide ! dinitrogen gas
NO N2O N2
The reductions are catalyzed by the enzymes nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase, nitric oxide reductase, and nitrous oxide reductase. The redox balance of denitrifica-tion is
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