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Modeling methane utilization by methanotrophs in groundwater : applications for groundwater bioremediation


Udell, Edye Carol (1997) Modeling methane utilization by methanotrophs in groundwater : applications for groundwater bioremediation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/yrd7-hp44.


A model was developed to predict substrate concentrations for bacterial growth in a groundwater system. The model coupled substrate transport and oxidation by cells with bacterial growth. A reactor was designed that could test the model's ability to correctly predict the biological and physical phenomena governing the reactor setup. In order to design the reactor, I needed a methanotroph strain capable of attaching well to sand contained in the reactor. I found that Methylomicrobium albus BG8 cells attached strongly to the pretreated Ottawa sand used for the reactor solid phase. I also analyzed the effect of copper on methane utilization kinetics for this strain because prior evidence suggested copper may influence kinetic parameters. I found that copper did not have a statistically significant effect on methane utilization kinetics under the experimental conditions used. I also found that the mathematical model worked well to predict methane concentrations throughout the reactor over time. Model input parameters were then analyzed for their influence on model predictions. I found that the Michaelis-Menten maximum rate of methane utilization and Monod maximum specific growth rate had the largest effect on model predictions. I also found that mass transfer from the bulk liquid to bacteria attached to particles could have a large impact on model predictions. The mass transfer effect was greatest when the substrate concentration was less than or equal to the Michaelis-Menten affinity coefficient and Monod half-maximum growth rate constant.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Thesis Committee:
  • Lidstrom, Mary E. (chair)
Defense Date:12 July 1996
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-01182008-085109
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:219
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:14 Feb 2008
Last Modified:19 Apr 2021 22:39

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PDF (Udell_ec_1997.pdf) - Final Version
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