In this segment of a larger multidisciplinary study of the movement and fate of creosote derived compounds in a sand-and-gravel aquifer, we present evidence that the methanogenic degradation of the major biodegradable phenolic compounds and concomitant microbial growth in batch microcosms derived from contaminated aquifer material can be described using Monod kinetics. Substrate depletion and bacterial growth curves were fitted to the Monod equations using nonlinear regression analysis. The method of Marquardt was used for the determination of parameter values that best fit the experimental data by minimizing the residual sum of squares. The Monod kinetic constants (??max, Ks, Y, and kd) that describe phenol, 2-, 3-, and 4-methylphenol degradation and concomitant microbial growth were determined under conditions that were substantially different from those previously reported for microcosms cultured from sewage sludge. The Ks values obtained in this study are approximately two orders of magnitude lower than values obtained for the anaerobic degradation of phenol in digesting sewage sludge, indicating that the aquifer microorganisms have developed enzyme systems that are adapted to low nutrient conditions. The values for kd are much less than ??max, and can be neglected in the microcosms. The extremely low Y values, approximately 3 orders of magnitude lower than for the sewage sludge derived cultures, and the very low numbers of microorganisms in the aquifer derived microcosms suggest that these organisms use some unique strategies to survive in the subsurface environment. ?? 1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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Methanogenic degradation kinetics of phenolic compounds in aquifer-derived microcosms