Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) is a highly energetic oxidant. This work documents a novel process that recovers N 2 O by inhibiting the activity of the nitrous-oxide reductase (N 2 OR) in denitrifying bacteria. N 2 O recovery was demonstrated in batch experiments in which NO was the only electron-acceptor, with Fe(II)EDTA being the chelating agent for NO. Increasing NO-Fe(II)EDTA led to greater accumulation of N 2 O over N 2 in batch studies (up to 70% of total gas produced), and N 2 O accumulation correlated to loss of nitrous-oxide reductase (N 2 OR) activity and conformational changes to cytochrome c, the immediate electron donor for N 2 OR. Stable and high production of N 2 O was also documented in long-term experiments with NO-Fe(II)EDTA as the only acceptor for denitrifying biomass. Mechanistically, the conformational change of cytochrome c was the dominant cause for the loss of electron-transfer capacity, which led to a decrease of N 2 OR activity and the accumulation of N 2 O. And this is the first time to recover energy source from flue gas in the form of N 2 O. Recovery of N 2 O by suppressing N 2 OR widens the options for energy recovery from nitrogen-based wastes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-506
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Conformational change
  • Denitrification
  • N O recovery
  • N OR inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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