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Environ Pollut. 2011 Apr;159(4):858-64. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.12.032. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Microbial growth with vapor-phase substrate.

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1
UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Environmental Microbiology, Leipzig, Germany.

Abstract

Limited information exists on influences of the diffusive transport of volatile organic contaminants (VOC) on bacterial activity in the unsaturated zone of the terrestrial subsurface. Diffusion of VOC in the vapor-phase is much more efficient than in water and results in effective VOC transport and high bioavailability despite restricted mobility of bacteria in the vadose zone. Since many bacteria tend to accumulate at solid-water, solid-air and air-water interfaces, such phase boundaries are of a special interest for VOC-biodegradation. In an attempt to evaluate microbial activity toward air-borne substrates, this study investigated the spatio-temporal interplay between growth of Pseudomonas putida (NAH7) on vapor-phase naphthalene (NAPH) and its repercussion on vapor-phase NAPH concentrations. Our data demonstrate that growth rates of strain PpG7 were inversely correlated to the distance from the source of vapor-phase NAPH. Despite the high gas phase diffusivity of NAPH, microbial growth was absent at distances above 5 cm from the source when sufficient biomass was located in between. This indicates a high efficiency of suspended bacteria to acquire vapor-phase compounds and influence headspace concentration gradients at the centimeter-scale. It further suggests a crucial role of microorganisms as biofilters for gas-phase VOC emanating from contaminated groundwater or soil.

PMID:
21277662
DOI:
10.1016/j.envpol.2010.12.032
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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