Microsensor measurements of sulfate reduction and sulfide oxidation in compact microbial communities of aerobic biofilms

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 1992, 58 (4), pp. 1164 - 1174
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The microzonation of O2 respiration, H2S oxidation, and SO42- reduction in aerobic trickling-filter biofilms was studied by measuring concentration profiles at high spatial resolution (25 to 100 µm) with microsensors for O2, S2-, and pH. Specific reaction rates were calculated from measured concentration profiles by using a simple one-dimensional diffusion reaction model. The importance of electron acceptor and electron donor availability for the microzonation of respiratory processes and their reaction rates was investigated. Oxygen respiration was found in the upper 0.2 to 0.4 mm of the biofilm, whereas sulfate reduction occurred in deeper, anoxic parts of the biofilm. Sulfate reduction accounted for up to 50% of the total mineralization of organic carbon in the biofilms. All H2S produced from sulfate reduction was reoxidized by O2 in a narrow reaction zone, and no H2S escaped to the overlying water.
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