Chemostat Experiments

Pesticide degradation at sub-µg/L concentrations in a continuous culture system.

Bottlenecks of Micropollutant Degradation: Chemostat Experiments


MicroDegrade aims to reveal bottlenecks of the biodegradation of chemical micropollutants at small (sub-μg/L) concentrations. Competing paradigms claim that either mass transfer (bioavailability, cell uptake) or physiological limitations (enzyme down-regulation, enzyme kinetics) prevent complete biodegradation at contaminant threshold concentrations. A continuous culture of degrader strains in chemostat enables us to investigate biodegradation at sub-µg/L concentrations. Combining this with isotope analysis of micropollutants, proteomics, and enzyme characterization can elucidate which bottlenecks constitute the limits of biodegradation at small concentrations.


  • Establishing and characterization of continuous culture systems (chemostat/retentostat) with micropollutants as sole nutrient source
  • Using CSIA as a label-free marker for mass transfer limitation
  • Establishing model systems to investigate bioavailabilty and enzyme limitations
  • Improving CSIA for analysis at low concentrations (sub-µg/L)