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Bacterial Growth on Distant Naphthalene Diffusing through Water, Air, and Water-Saturated and Nonsaturated Porous Media

By H. Harms

Abstract

The influence of substrate diffusion on bacterial growth was investigated. Crystalline naphthalene was supplied as the substrate at various distances in the range of centimeters from naphthalene-degrading organisms separated from the substrate by agar-solidified mineral medium. Within 2 weeks, the cells grew to final numbers which were negatively correlated with the distance from the substrate. A mathematical model that combined (i) Monod growth kinetics extended by a term for culture maintenance and (ii) substrate diffusion could explain the observed growth curves. The model could also predict growth on naphthalene that was separated from the bacteria by air. In addition, the bacteria were grown on distant naphthalene that had to diffuse to the cells through water-saturated and unsaturated porous media. The growth of the bacteria could be used to calculate the effective diffusivity of naphthalene in the three-phase system. Diffusion of naphthalene in the pore space containing 80% air was roughly 1 order of magnitude faster than in medium containing only 20% air because of the high Henry's law coefficient of naphthalene. It is proposed that the effective diffusivities of the substrates and the spatial distribution of substrates and bacteria are the main determinants of final cell numbers and, consequently, final degradation rates

Topics: Research Article
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:1388887
Provided by: PubMed Central
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