Several investigations have shown that during growth in carbon-limited chemostats the simultaneous utilisation
of carbon substrates which usually provoke diauxie under batch conditions, Le., 'mixed substrate
growth', is probably the rule under ecologically relevant growth conditions. In contrast, the models presently
available for the description of the kinetics of microbial growth are all based on the use of single substrates.
Systematic studies in chemostat culture have shown that steady-state residual concentrations of individual
compounds were consistently lower during mixed substrate growth than during growth with the single sub.
strates. This effect is c1early demonstrated for the case of Escherichia coli growing with mixtures of glucose
. plus galactose. The data presented indicate that the extent of reduction of steady-state residual substrate
concentration is dependent on the proportions of the substrates in the mixture, the nature of substrates mixed
and the regulation pattern of enzymes involved in their breakdown. If this behaviour can be shown to be
typical for growth under environmental conditions, it may provide an explanation why microbes still grow
relatively fast at the low substrate concentrations encountered in nature.