The reduction of (per)chlorate and nitrate in (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria shows similarities and differences. (Per)chlorate reductase and nitrate reductase both belong to the type II DMSO family of enzymes and have a common bis(molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide)molybdenum cofactor. There are two types of dissimilatory nitrate reductases. With respect to their localization, (per)chlorate reductase is more similar to the dissimilatory periplasmic nitrate reductase. However, the periplasmic, unlike the membrane-bound, respiratory nitrate reductase, is not able to use chlorate. Structurally, (per)chlorate reductase is more similar to respiratory nitrate reductase, since these reductases have analogous subunits encoded by analogous genes. Both periplasmic (per)chlorate reductase and membrane-bound nitrate reductase activities are induced under anoxic conditions in the presence of (per)chlorate and nitrate respectively. During microbial (per)chlorate reduction, molecular oxygen is generated. This is not the case for nitrate reduction, although an atypical reaction in nitrite reduction linked to oxygen formation has been described recently. Microbial oxygen production during reduction of oxyanions may enhance biodegradation of pollutants under anoxic conditions.

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