A simple stoichiometric model is proposed linking the biomass yield to the enthalpy and Gibbs energy changes in chemo-heterotrophic, mixotrophic, and photo-autotrophic microbial growth. A comparison with calorimetric experiments on the algae Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella sorokiniana confirmed the trends but revealed large calorimetric measurement inaccuracies. The calorimetric data on purely photo-autotrophic growth was, however, in fair agreement with calculations. The thermodynamic characteristics of photosynthetic growth, including an estimation of the Gibbs energy dissipation, are compared with similar data for chemotrophic microbes.
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