Oxygenation of an anoxic fjord basin strongly stimulates benthic denitrification and DNRA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hypoxia hampers eutrophication reduction efforts by enabling high nutrient fluxes from sediment to bottom waters. Oxygenation of hypoxic water bodies is often proposed to reduce benthic ammonium and phosphate release. This study investigates the functional response of benthic nitrate-reducing processes to a long-term engineered oxygenation effort in a density-stratified fjord with euxinic bottom waters. Oxygenation was achieved by mixing surface water with deep, euxinic water, which increased oxygen and nitrate concentrations in the deep water column. The presence of nitrate instigated benthic nitrate reduction in the newly oxidized sediments by equally stimulating denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA). DNRA and total nitrate reduction rates, as well as the contribution of DNRA to total nitrate reduction, decreased with increasing exposure time of the sediments to oxygen. The relative importance of DNRA as a nitrate sink was correlated to nitrate concentrations, with more nitrate being reduced to ammonium at higher bottom water nitrate concentrations. Overall, engineered oxygenation decreased the net efflux of dissolved inorganic nitrogen from the sediments by stimulating net nitrate removal through denitrification.


  • Loreto De Brabandere
  • Stefano Bonaglia
  • Mikhail Y. Kononets
  • Lena Viktorsson
  • Anders Stigebrandt
  • Bo Thamdrup
  • Per O. J. Hall
External organisations
  • Stockholm University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geochemistry


  • By Fjord, Hypoxia, Engineered oxygenation, Anammox, DNRA, Denitrification, Dissimilatory nitrate reduction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-152
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes