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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Feb 15;41(4):1265-71.

Transport and deposition of metabolically active and stationary phase Deinococcus radiodurans in unsaturated porous media.

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Agrosphere (ICG-IV), Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH D-52425, Jülich, Germany.


Bioremediation is a cost-efficient cleanup technique that involves the use of metabolically active bacteria to degrade recalcitrant pollutants. To further develop this technique it is important to understand the migration and deposition behavior of metabolically active bacteria in unsaturated soils. Unsaturated transport experiments were therefore performed using Deinococcus radiodurans cells that were harvested during the log phase and continuously supplied with nutrients during the experiments. Additional experiments were conducted using this bacterium in the stationary phase. Different water saturations were considered in these studies, namely 100 (only stationary phase), 80, and 40%. Results from this study clearly indicated thatthe physiological state of the bacteria influenced its transport and deposition in sands. Metabolically active bacteria were more hydrophobic and exhibited greater deposition than bacteria in the stationary phase, especially at a water saturation of 40%. The breakthrough curves for active bacteria also had low concentration tailing as a result of cell growth of retained bacteria that were released into the liquid phase. Collected breakthrough curves and deposition profiles were described using a model that simultaneously considers both chemical attachment and physical straining. New concepts and hypotheses were formulated in this model to include biological aspects associated with bacteria growth inside the porous media.

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