A novel relationship for the maximum specific growth rate of a microbial guild

Moein Jahanbani Veshareh*, Hamidreza M. Nick

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    One of the major parameters that characterizes the kinetics of microbial processes is the maximum specific growth rate. The maximum specific growth rate for a single microorganism (μmax) is fairly constant. However, a certain microbial process is typically catalyzed by a group of microorganisms (guild) that have various μmax values. In many occasions, it is not feasible to breakdown a guild into its constituent microorganisms. Therefore, it is a common practice to assume a constant maximum specific growth rate for the guild (μmax) and determine its value by fitting experimental data. This assumption is valid for natural environments, where microbial guilds are stabilized and dominated by microorganisms that grow optimally in those environments' conditions. However, a change in an environment's conditions will trigger a community shift by favoring some of the microorganisms. This shift leads to a variable μmax as long as substrate availability is significantly higher than substrate affinity constant. In this work, it is illustrated that the assumption of constant μmax may underestimate or overestimate microbial growth. To circumvent this, a novel relationship that characterizes changes in μmax under abundant nutrient availability is proposed. The proposed relationship is evaluated for various random microbial guilds in batch experiments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberfnab064
    JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
    Issue number12
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The research leading to these results has received funding from the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre under the Transformation of Asset Cost program.


    • Growth kinetics
    • Microbial growth
    • Modeling growth
    • Specific growth rate relationship
    • Variable growth rate


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