Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
20 Aug 2014
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Impact of flow velocity on biochemical processes – a laboratory experiment
A. Boisson1,*, D. Roubinet1,**, L. Aquilina1, O. Bour1, and P. Davy1 1Géosciences Rennes, CNRS – UMR6118, Université de Rennes 1, Rennes, France
*now at: BRGM, D3E/NRE, Indo-French Centre for Groundwater Research, 500 007 Hyderabad, India
**now at: Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Abstract. Understanding and predicting hydraulic and chemical properties of natural environments are current crucial challenges. It requires considering hydraulic, chemical and biological processes and evaluating how hydrodynamic properties impact on biochemical reactions. In this context, an original laboratory experiment to study the impact of flow velocity on biochemical reactions along a one-dimensional flow streamline has been developed. Based on the example of nitrate reduction, nitrate-rich water passes through plastic tubes at several flow velocities (from 6.2 to 35 mm min−1), while nitrate concentration at the tube outlet is monitored for more than 500 h. This experimental setup allows assessing the biologically controlled reaction between a mobile electron acceptor (nitrate) and an electron donor (carbon) coming from an immobile phase (tube) that produces carbon during its degradation by microorganisms. It results in observing a dynamic of the nitrate transformation associated with biofilm development which is flow-velocity dependent. It is proposed that the main behaviors of the reaction rates are related to phases of biofilm development through a simple analytical model including assimilation. Experiment results and their interpretation demonstrate a significant impact of flow velocity on reaction performance and stability and highlight the relevance of dynamic experiments over static experiments for understanding biogeochemical processes.

Citation: Boisson, A., Roubinet, D., Aquilina, L., Bour, O., and Davy, P.: Impact of flow velocity on biochemical processes – a laboratory experiment, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,, 2014.
A. Boisson et al.
A. Boisson et al.


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