Substrate interactions in the biodegradation kinetics of PAH mixtures

Christopher D. Knightes, Catherine Anne Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Ten PAH (naphthalene (NPH), 1-methylnaphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, acenaphthene (ACE), 2-ethylnapthalene, fluorene (FLR), phenanthrene (PHN), anthracene, fluoranthene, and pyrene (PYR)) were studied. Biodegradation rate parameters and yield coefficients were estimated for each of the PAH in sole-substrate experiments. NPH had the faster degradation rate, followed by PYR. Aside from ACE, the slowest compound to degrade was FLR. The remaining six PAH had biodegradation rates that were comparable in value. The lack of a trend of decreasing biodegradation rate with increasing molecular size was contrary to that in the literature for biodegradation rates of PAH in soils. The differences in biodegradation rates observed in field samples were largely due to differences in the physical-chemical properties that govern bioavailability, e.g., hydrophobicity, which for PAH was closely correlated to molecular weight. The differences in biodegradation rates observed could be explained by differences in molecular structure features that govern reactivity and binding affinity for the enzyme. Substrate interactions were most noticeable for PHN, which shows a significant deviation from the sole substrate model. Substrate interactions were observed in biodegradation kinetics of PAH mixtures and that the best model to describe these interactions was the multi-substrate model with competitive inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-460
Number of pages4
JournalACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Event220th ACS National Meeting - Wastington, DC, United States
Duration: Aug 20 2000Aug 24 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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