Biodegradation kinetics of a mixture containing a primary substrate (phenol) and an inhibitory co-metabolite (4-chlorophenol)

Pablo B. Saéz, Bruce E. Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Batch experiments on the simultaneous utilization of phenol (primary substrate) and 4-chlorophenol (cometabolic secondary substrate) demonstrated two critical substrate interactions. First, the cometabolic degradation of 4-chlorophenol was proportional to the rate of phenol oxidation, which provided the electrons for the initial monooxygenase reaction. Second, 4-chlorophenol inhibited the oxidation of the primary substrate, phenol. Modeling analyses of the degradation of phenol alone and of phenol and 4-chlorophenol together showed that the proportionality between phenol and 4-chlorophenol degradation rates averaged 0.1 mg 4-CP/mg phenol, which corresponds to 0.5% of the electrons generated by phenol oxidation being used as a cosubstrate for the monooxygenase reaction of 4-chlorophenol. In addition, modeling analyses suggest that 4-chlorophenol was a noncompetitive inhibitor of phenol oxidation for high phenol concentrations, but a competitive inhibitor for low phenol concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • 4-chlorophenol
  • cometabolism
  • cosubstrate
  • inhibition
  • kinetics
  • modeling
  • monooxygenase
  • phenol
  • substrate interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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