ATP-related specific heterotrophic activity in petroleum contaminated and uncontaminated groundwaters

B.K. Jensen

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Bacterial numbers, ATP content, heterotrophic potentials, and thymidine incorporation were determined for petroleum contaminated and uncontaminated groundwaters. ATP measurements and cell counts gave variations of a factor of 7 in values among the sites. The acridine orange direct counting yielded counts 2 to 3 orders of magnitude higher than the plate counts and counts 1 to 2 orders of magnitude higher than counts given by the ATP measurement using a conversion factor of 10−6 ng ATP/cell. Mean Vmax values for 14C-labled glucose, acetate, and naphthalene were 0.59, 0.17, and 1.14 μg ∙ L−1 ∙ h−1, respectively. Naphthalene was only used as substrate in the contaminated samples. Acetate and naphthalene showed fairly good correlations to ATP contents, 0.94 and 0.95, respectively, as well as with tritiated thymidine incorporation rates, r = 0.94. Vmax specific activity indices (SAI) based on ATP content showed very little variation for the selected groundwaters compared with SAI values reported earlier for groundwaters.Key words: groundwater, heterotrophic potential, tritiated thymidine incorporation, ATP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-818
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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