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Flowthrough Reactor Flasks for Study of Microbial Metabolism in Sediments

By Richard L. Smith and Michael J. Klug


Flowthrough reactor flasks are described that allow continuous low-level nutrient input to mixed anoxic sediments without dilution of the sediment. The flasks were tested by simulating sulfate inputs into sediments collected from a freshwater eutrophic lake. After an initial 2-day adaptation within the reactor system, rates of methane production and sulfate consumption were constant for the duration of a 12-day incubation. A sulfate input rate of 0.15 mmol liter of sediment(−1) day(−1) resulted in an equivalent rate of sulfate removal, which was unaffected by inputs of acetate (1.0 mmol liter of sediment(−1) day(−1)). The rate of methane production in control reactors, 0.18 mmol liter of sediment(−1) day(−1), was doubled by the addition of acetate, whereas sulfate consumption was only stimulated by additions of high concentrations of sulfate plus acetate (1.5 and 1.0 mmol liter of sediment(−1) day(−1), respectively). The reactor system appears to be effective in maintaining the balance between sulfate reduction and methane production in freshwater sediments and is potentially useful for study of the response of sediment populations to varying inputs of naturally occurring substrates, selected inhibitors, or xenobiotic compounds

Topics: General Microbial Ecology
Year: 1987
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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