Kinetic parameter estimation in N. europaea biofilms using a 2-D reactive transport model
Lauchnor, Ellen G.
Wood, Brian D.
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Biofilms of the ammonia oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas europaea were cultivated to study microbial processes associated with ammonia oxidation in pure culture. We explored the hypothesis that the kinetic parameters of ammonia oxidation in N. europaea biofilms were in the range of those determined with batch suspended cells. Oxygen and pH microelectrodes were used to measure dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations and pH above and inside biofilms and reactive transport modeling was performed to simulate the measured DO and pH profiles. A two dimensional (2-D) model was used to simulate advection parallel to the biofilm surface and diffusion through the overlying fluid while reaction and diffusion were simulated in the biofilm. Three experimental studies of microsensor measurements were performed with biofilms: i) NH3 concentrations near the Ksnvalue of 40 μM determined in suspended cell tests ii) Limited buffering capacity which resulted in a pH gradient within the biofilms and iii) NH3 concentrations well below the Ksn value. Very good fits to the DO concentration profiles both in the fluid above and in the biofilms were achieved using the 2-D model. The modeling study revealed that the half-saturation coefficient for NH3 in N. europaea biofilms was close to the value measured in suspended cells. However, the third study of biofilms with low availability of NH3 deviated from the model prediction. The model also predicted shifts in the DO profiles and the gradient in pH that resulted for the case of limited buffering capacity. The results illustrate the importance of incorporating both key transport and chemical processes in a biofilm reactive transport model.
Lauchnor EG, Semprini L, Wood BD, "Kinetic parameter estimation in N. europaea biofilms using a 2-D reactive transport model," Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2015 112(6): 1122–1131.