Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 73–79 | Cite as

Steady state and transient growth of autotrophic nitrifying bacteria

  • G. A. Keen
  • J. I. Prosser
Original Papers


Growth of the autotrophic nitrifying bacteria Nitrosomonas europaea and Nitrobacter sp. was studied in continuous culture. Steady state growth kinetics of both organisms conformed with that predicted by chemostat theory, modified to account for maintenance energy requirement. Steady state data were used to calculate the maximum specific growth rate, the saturation constant for growth, the true growth yield and the maintenance coefficient. Transient growth was studied by imposing step changes in dilution rate. Step increases resulted in overshoots and oscillations in substrate concentration before establishment of a new steady state while step decreases in dilution rate were followed by monotonic changes in substrate concentration. The size of overshoots in substrate concentration following step increases in dilution rate was dependent on both the magnitude of the increase and of the dilution rate prior to the change.

Key words

Nitrosomonas europaea Nitrobacter Nitrification Continuous culture Transient growth 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Keen
    • 1
  • J. I. Prosser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Aberdeen, Marischal CollegeAberdeenScotland

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