Denitrification and consumption of oxygen and nitrate in sediments from Tama Estuary, Odawa Bay, and Tokyo Bay were measured in an experimental sediment-water system. Filtered seawater containing [15N]nitrate flowed continuously over undisturbed sediments, and the concentrations of O2, nitrate, and nitrite in the influent and effluent and of 15N2 in the effluent were monitored. Under steady-state conditions, the rate of nitrate consumption was the same order of magnitude as the rate of oxygen consumption in Tama Estuary sediments, whereas the former rate was one order of magnitude lower than the latter rate in Odawa Bay and Tokyo Bay sediments. Denitrification accounted for 27 to 57% of the nitrate consumption
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