Growth rate and nutrient limitation affect the transport of Rhodococcus sp strain DN22 through sand

James T. Priestley*, Nicholas V. Coleman, Trevor Duxbury

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Rhodococcus strain DN22 grows on the nitramine explosive RDX as a sole nitrogen source, and is potentially useful for bioremediation of explosives-contaminated soil. In order for strain DN22 to be effectively applied in situ, inoculum cells must reach zones of RDX contamination via passive transport, a process that is difficult to predict at field-scale. We examined the effect of growth conditions on the transport of DN22 cells through sand columns, using chemostat-grown cultures. Strain DN22 formed smaller coccoid cells at low dilution rate (0.02 h-1) and larger rods at high dilution rate (0.1 h-1). Under all nutrient limitation conditions studied, smaller cells grown at low dilution rate were retained more strongly by sand columns than larger cells grown at high dilution rate. At a dilution rate of 0.05, cells from nitrate-limited cultures were retained more strongly than cells from RDX-limited or succinate-limited cultures. Breakthrough concentrations (C/C0) from sand columns ranged from 0.04 (nitrate-limited, D=0.02 h-1) to 0.98 (succinate-limited, D=0.1 h-1). The observed strong effect of culture conditions on transport of DN22 cells emphasizes the importance of physiology studies in guiding the development of bioremediation technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-576
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Early online date14 Feb 2006
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • bacterial transport
  • biodegradation
  • bioremediation
  • cell morphology
  • growth rate


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