Standard Article

Copper Enzymes in Denitrification

  1. David M. Dooley,
  2. Jeannine M. Chan

Published Online: 15 MAR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia295

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Dooley, D. M. and Chan, J. M. 2006. Copper Enzymes in Denitrification. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2006


Denitrification is an intrinsic part of the global nitrogen cycle, balancing the cycle by returning fixed nitrogen to the atmosphere. During denitrification, a bacterial respiratory process, nitrate or nitrite is reduced to nitrogenous oxides. All of the redox reactions of denitrification are catalyzed by metalloenzymes, two of which contain copper. This chapter reviews the structures, mechanisms, and assembly of these copper-containing enzymes, copper nitrite reductase and nitrous oxide reductase.


  • nitrite reductase;
  • nitrous oxide reductase;
  • copper proteins;
  • denitrification;
  • metal-cluster assembly;
  • Type 1 center;
  • Type 2 center;
  • copper-sulfur cluster;
  • CuA; metalloenzyme