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Biochemical indication of microbial mass changes using ATP and DNA measurement in biological treatment of thiocyanate

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This study was designed to monitor changes in the levels of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) per unit of microbial mass during the autotrophic biodegradation of thiocyanate (SCN). An artificial medium containing trace minerals and 500 mg SCN/L was used as a substrate for bacterial growth. An SCN-degrading bioreactor with a working volume of 6 L, equipped with temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen controls, was operated in batch mode. During the exponential phase of SCN biodegradation, the ratios of ATP and DNA to microbial dry weight varied from 0.6 to 1.1 μg ATP/mg of volatile suspended solid (VSS), and from 3.5 to 8.8 μg DNA/mg of VSS, respectively. The ATP and DNA concentrations correlated linearly with microbial mass (r 2 > 0.9) within the exponential phase. The linear regression equations were as follows: (1) microbial mass concentration (mg/L) = 0.663 × ATP concentration (μg/L) + 11.1 and (2) microbial concentration (mg/L) = 0.081 × DNA concentration (μg/L) + 10.9. The applicable ranges were 6.8 to 47.4 μg/L for ATP concentration and 41.5 to 395 μg/L for DNA concentration, respectively.

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This research was supported in part by the BK-21 program, Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Research Center (AEBRC) (Grant no: R11-2003-006-04005-0), and the Ministry of Environment as “The Eco-technopia 21 project”.

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Correspondence to Seokhwan Hwang.

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Lim, J., Lee, S., Kim, S. et al. Biochemical indication of microbial mass changes using ATP and DNA measurement in biological treatment of thiocyanate. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80, 525–530 (2008).

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  • ATP
  • DNA
  • Microbial mass
  • Thiocyanate biodegradation