A review of experimental measurements of effective diffusive permeabilities and effective diffusion coefficients in biofilms
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Experimental measurements of effective diffusive permeabilities and effective diffusion coefficients in biofilms are reviewed. Effective diffusive permeabilities, the parameter appropriate to the analysis of reaction-diffusion interactions, depend on solute type and biofilm density. Three categories of solute physical chemistry with distinct diffusive properties were distinguished by the present analysis. In order of descending mean relative effective diffusive permeability (De/Daq) these were inorganic anions or cations (0.56), nonpolar solutes with molecular weights of 44 or less (0.43), and organic solutes of molecular weight greater than 44 (0.29). Effective diffusive permeabilities decrease sharply with increasing biomass volume fraction suggesting a serial resistance model of diffusion in biofilms as proposed by Hinson and Kocher (1996). A conceptual model of biofilm structure is proposed in which each cell is surrounded by a restricted permeability envelope. Effective diffusion coefficients, which are appropriate to the analysis of transient penetration of nonreactive solutes, are generally similar to effective diffusive permeabilities in biofilms of similar composition. In three studies that examine diffusion of very large molecular weight solutes ( > 5000) in biofilms, the average ratio of the relative effective diffusion coefficient of the large solute to the relative effective diffusion coefficient of either sucrose or fluorescein was 0.64, 0.61, and 0.36. It is proposed that large solutes are effectively excluded from microbial cells, that small solutes partition into and diffuse within cells, and that ionic solutes are excluded from cells but exhibit increased diffusive permeability (but decreased effective diffusion coefficients) due to sorption to the biofilm matrix. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Biotechnol Bioeng 59:261–272, 1998.
Stewart, P.S., “A Review of Experimental Measurements of Effective Diffusive Permeabilities and Effective Diffusion Coefficients in Biofilms,” Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 59(3):261-272 (1998).