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Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Jan 15;35(2):354-61.

Kinetics of mass transfer-limited bacterial growth on solid PAHs.

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  • 1Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG), Dübendorf.


The importance of mass transfer relative to the intrinsic microbial activity was examined in a laboratory system using Mycobacterium sp. LB501T and poorly soluble anthracene as sole carbon source. M. sp. LB501T was grown on various amounts of solid anthracene in batch cultures, and microbial biomass formation was compared to independently determined dissolution fluxes. Provision of only a few anthracene crystals (< or = 2 g L(-1)) resulted in pseudolinear growth due to low dissolution fluxes, whereas exponential growth was only obtained when high amounts of solid anthracene (30 g L(-1)) were provided. The influence of substrate bioavailability on microbial growth was predicted successfully by a dynamic, flux-based approach (Best-Equation), which combines substrate dissolution from crystals into solution, substrate uptake by microorganisms from solution, and concurrent biomass formation.

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