Acid-base titrations and electrophoretic mobility measurements were conducted on the thermophilic bacteria Anoxybacillus flavithermus and Geobacillus stearothermophilus at two different growth times corresponding to exponential and stationary/death phase. The data showed significant differences between the two investigated growth times for both bacterial species. In stationary/death phase samples, cells were disrupted and their buffering capacity was lower than that of exponential phase cells. For G. stearothermophilus the electrophoretic mobility profiles changed dramatically. Chemical equilibrium models were developed to simultaneously describe the data from the titrations and the electrophoretic mobility measurements. A simple approach was developed to determine confidence intervals for the overall variance between the model and the experimental data, in order to identify statistically significant changes in model fit and thereby select the simplest model that was able to adequately describe each data set. Exponential phase cells of the investigated thermophiles had a higher total site concentration than the average found for mesophilic bacteria (based on a previously published generalised model for the acid-base behaviour of mesophiles), whereas the opposite was true for cells in stationary/death phase. The results of this study indicate that growth phase is an important parameter that can affect ion binding by bacteria, that growth phase should be considered when developing or employing chemical models for bacteria-bearing systems. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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