Influence of heavy metals on microbial growth kinetics including lag time: Mathematical modeling and experimental verification

Authors

  • S. Sevinç Şengör,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA
    • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA
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  • Sutapa Barua,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University Bozeman, Montana 59717–3920, USA
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  • Petros Gikas,

    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA
    2. Special Service of Public Works for Greater Athens Sewerage and Sewage Treatment, Hellenic Ministry of Environmental Planning and Public Works, Varvaki 12, 11474 Athens, Greece
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  • Timothy R. Ginn,

    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA
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  • Brent Peyton,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University Bozeman, Montana 59717–3920, USA
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  • Rajesh K. Sani,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701, USA
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  • Nicolas F. Spycher

    1. Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
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  • Published on the Web 6/4/2009.

Abstract

Heavy metals can significantly affect the kinetics of substrate biodegradation and microbial growth, including lag times and specific growth rates. A model to describe microbial metabolic lag as a function of the history of substrate concentration has been previously described by Wood et al. (Water Resour Res 31:553–563) and Ginn (Water Resour Res 35:1395–1408). In the present study, this model is extended by including the effect of heavy metals on metabolic lag by developing an inhibitor-dependent functional to account for the metabolic state of the microorganisms. The concentration of the inhibiting metal is explicitly incorporated into the functional. The validity of the model is tested against experimental data on the effects of zinc on Pseudomonas species isolated from Lake Coeur d'Alene sediments, Idaho, USA, as well as the effects of nickel or cobalt on a mixed microbial culture collected from the aeration tank of a wastewater treatment plant in Athens, Greece. The simulations demonstrate the ability to incorporate the effect of metals on metabolism through lag, yield coefficient, and specific growth rates. The model includes growth limitation due to insufficient transfer of oxygen into the growth medium.

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