Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 89, Issue 5, pp 1573–1581 | Cite as

Long-term influence of the presence of a non-aqueous phase on the cell surface hydrophobicity of Pseudomonas in two-phase partitioning bioreactors

  • María Hernández
  • Raúl Muñoz TorreEmail author
Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology


The long-term influence of silicone oil 200 cSt (SO200) and 2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 8, 8-heptamethylnonane (HMN) on the cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) of a hexane-degrading Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain and a toluene-degrading Pseudomonas putida strain was assessed in two-phase partitioning bioreactors under batch and continuous operation. CSH was evaluated using a modified BATH method based on optical density (CSHOD) and colony-forming unit (CSHCFU) measurements. In the presence of HMN, P. aeruginosa turned hydrophobic over the time course as shown by the gradual increase in CSHOD (61 ± 1%) and CSHCFU (53 ± 3%) under batch degradation and in CSHOD (49 ± 0%) under continuous operation. However, P. putida turned hydrophobic only under continuous operation (\( {\hbox{CS}}{{\hbox{H}}_{\rm{OD}}} = 28 \pm 2\% \)). On the other hand, no significant CSH enhancement was observed in both Pseudomonas strains in the presence of SO200. These results suggested that CSH is species, non-aqueous phase, and cultivation mode dependant, and an inducible property of bacteria. Maximum hexane elimination capacities increased by 2 and 3 in the presence of SO200 and HMN, respectively. Based on the absence of CSH in P. aeruginosa in the presence of SO200, the higher elimination capacities recorded were likely due to an improved hexane mass transfer (physical effect). However, in the presence of HMN, a direct hexane uptake from the non-aqueous phase (biological effect) might have also contributed to this enhancement.


Cell surface hydrophobicity 2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 8, 8-heptamethylnonane Pseudomonas Silicone oil Two-phase partitioning bioreactors 



This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (RYC-2007-01667 and BES-2007-15840 contracts, and projects CTQ2009-07601 and CONSOLIDER-CSD 2007-00055). Dr. Marcia Morales and Dr. Ana Segura are also gratefully acknowledged for kindly supplying the bacterial strains used in this investigation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental TechnologyValladolid UniversityValladolidSpain

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