Azotobacter beijerinckii possesses the enzymes of both the Entner–Doudoroff and the oxidative pentose phosphate cycle pathways of glucose catabolism and both pathways are subject to feedback inhibition by products of glucose oxidation. The allosteric glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase utilizes both NADP+ and NAD+ as electron acceptors and is inhibited by ATP, ADP, NADH and NADPH. 6-Phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (NADP-specific) is unaffected by adenosine nucleotides but is strongly inhibited by NADH and NADPH. The formation of pyruvate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate from 6-phosphogluconate by the action of the Entner–Doudoroff enzymes is inhibited by ATP, citrate, isocitrate and cis-aconitate. Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase is unaffected by adenosine and nicotinamide nucleotides but the enzyme is non-specific with respect to NADP and NAD. Citrate synthase is strongly inhibited by NADH and the inhibition is reversed by the addition of AMP. Isocitrate dehydrogenase, a highly active NADP-specific enzyme, is inhibited by NADPH, NADH, ATP and by high concentrations of NADP+. These findings are discussed in relation to the massive synthesis of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate that occurs under certain nutritional conditions. We propose that synthesis of this reserve material, to the extent of 70% of the dry weight of the organism, serves as an electron and carbon ‘sink’ when conditions prevail that would otherwise inhibit nitrogen fixation and growth.

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