The use of microorganisms with broad range substrate utilisation for the ferricyanide-mediated rapid determination of biochemical oxygen demand
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The feasibility of replacing oxygen with a synthetic electron acceptor in microbial catabolism was investigated as a rapid method for the determination of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Microorganisms known for their broad range organic substrate utilisation were investigated. It was shown that Trichosporon cutaneum, Pseudomonas putida and Bacillus licheniformis could utilize the ferricyanide ion as an alternative electron acceptor, in place of oxygen, for the catabolic oxidation of a range of simple organic compounds. The biochemical reactions were monitored by measuring the amount of microbially produced ferrocyanide using amperometry at a Pt disk microelectrode. Catabolic degradation efficiencies approaching those of the conventional 5-day assay were achieved in 1 h. BOD5 equivalent values for a range of simple organic solutions were determined for each of the microorganisms. The effect of increased incubation time and the choice of appropriate calibration standards for rapid BOD assays were also considered.