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Metabolism of Mixtures of Organic Pollutants

  1. Thomas Egli

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr348

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Egli, T. 2003. Metabolism of Mixtures of Organic Pollutants. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


Recently, considerable information has been collected as to how microorganisms handle the biodegradation of mixtures of organic compounds, including pollutants. In this article, the most important phenomena and emerging principles with respect to utilization patterns growth (degradation) kinetics reported for growth of microbial cultures in the presence of mixtures of carbon substrates will be presented. There is now much evidence that especially under conditions as they pertain in most ecosystems, that is, at low concentrations, microbes utilize mixtures of substrates of natural origin simultaneously with pollutants. Cells benefit from mixed substrate utilization in several ways, such as from improved growth rates, competitive advantage at low nutrient concentrations, and a better dynamic metabolic flexibility to temporary fluctuations in the spectrum of available nutrients.


  • microorganisms;
  • biodegradation;
  • organic pollutants;
  • carbon substrates;
  • mixed substrate utilization;
  • diauxic growth;
  • catabolite repression;
  • pollutant-degrading enzyme systems