The kinetics of Mn(II) oxidation by the bacterium Leptothrix discophora SS1 was investigated in this research. Cells were grown in a minimal mineral salts medium in which chemical speciation was well defined. Mn(II) oxidation was observed in a bioreactor under controlled conditions with pH, O>sub>2, and temperature regulation. Mn(II) oxidation experiments were performed at cell concentrations between 24 mg/L and 35 mg/L, over a pH range from 6 to 8.5, between temperatures of 10°C and 40°C, over a dissolved oxygen range of 0 to 8.05 mg/L, and with L. discophora SS1 cells that were grown in the presence of Cu concentrations ranging from zero to 0.1 µM. Mn(II) oxidation rates were determined when the cultures grew to stationary phase and were found to be directly proportional to O2 and cell concentrations over the ranges investigated. The optimum pH for Mn(II) oxidation was approximately 7.5, and the optimum temperature was 30°C. A Cu level as low as 0.02 µM was found to inhibit the growth rate and yield of L. discophora SS1 observed in shake flasks, while Cu levels between 0.02 and 0.1 µM stimulated the Mn(II) oxidation rate observed in bioreactors. An overall rate law for Mn(II) oxidation by L. discophora as a function of pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration (D.O.), and Cu concentration is proposed. At circumneutral pH, the rate of biologically mediated Mn(II) oxidation is likely to exceed homogeneous abiotic Mn(II) oxidation at relatively low (≈µg/L) concentrations of Mn oxidizing bacteria.
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