Bacterial Biogeochemistry by T. Fenchel, G.M. King and T.H. Blackburn (Auth.)

By T. Fenchel, G.M. King and T.H. Blackburn (Auth.)

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It is useful to conclude this chapter with a brief discussion of the relation between redox potentials as used in a theoretical bioenergetic context (see Appendix 1) and in terms of potentials that can actually be measured in aquatic habitats with a platinum electrode. 2 are in most cases not measured directly, but have been calculated indirectly from values of standard free energies. Many such couples can, however, be measured directly with an arrangement as shown in Fig. 1. It would seem natural to use redox potential measured in natural waters to achieve a direct picture of the microbial processes, that is, to provide a picture as presented in Fig.

2 Concentration gradient of a substrate around a spherical cell in the diffusion limited case when the substrate concentration at the cell surface is zero. This suggests that in the diffusion limited case the uptake by the cell is only a function of cell size, the bulk concentration, and the diffusion coefficient of the substrate in question. 3) with C’ we obtain an expression for the “clearance of the cell”; that is, the volume of water the cell can clear of substrate per unit time ( 4πRD). If we further divide the expression with cell volume (4/3πR3), assuming that the needs of the cell are proportional to cell volume, we obtain:  E 3 R 2 D.

Quantitatively, however, the above picture is only approximate, because, for example, the actual ATP yield of nitrate respiration is only about 50% of that of O2 respiration instead of 90% as implied by free energy yields. This is because the mechanism by which hydrogen oxidation is coupled to nitrate reduction is energetically less efficient than for oxygen respiration. In general, the efficiency of energy conservation is not high. For the aerobic degradation of glucose (C6H12O6  6O2 → 6CO2  6H2O); ΔGo’  2877 kJ mol1.

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