Degradation of phenol by Pseudomonas putida ATCC 11172 in continuous culture at different ratios of biofilm surface to culture volume

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Oct;50(4):946-50. doi: 10.1128/aem.50.4.946-950.1985.


Pseudomonas putida ATCC 11172 was grown in continuous culture with phenol as the only carbon and energy source; a culture practically without biofilm was compared with biofilm cultures of differing surface area/volume ratios. The biofilm did not significantly affect the maximal suspended cell concentration in the effluent, but it increased the maximal phenol reduction rate from 0.23 g/liter per h (without biofilm) to 0.72 g/liter per h at the highest biofilm level (5.5 cm2 of biofilm surface per ml of reactor volume). The increase in phenol reduction rate was linear up to the surface area/volume ratio of 1.4 cm2/ml. The continuous cultures with biofilms could tolerate a higher phenol concentration of the medium (3.0 g/liter) than the nonbiofilm system (2.5 g/liter). At higher dilution rates an intermediate product, 2-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde, accumulated in the culture. When the biomass of the effluent started to decrease, the concentration of 2-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde reached a peak value. We conclude that biofilms in continuous culture have the potential to enhance the aerobic degradation of aromatic compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Culture Media
  • Fermentation
  • Kinetics
  • Phenol
  • Phenols / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas / growth & development*
  • Pseudomonas / metabolism
  • Surface Properties


  • Culture Media
  • Phenols
  • Phenol