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Water Res. 2008 Mar;42(6-7):1547-54. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

The role of starvation on Escherichia coli adhesion and transport in saturated porous media.

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1
Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.

Abstract

The influence of bacterial starvation on cell transport has been examined using two Escherichia coli isolates: one from human (HU) and one from dairy cattle (DC). To better understand the fate of starved bacteria, experiments were conducted in a packed bed column using cells that had been incubating at room temperature without nutrients for 6, 12, and 18h, as well as cells, which had not been starved (referred to as time zero). Complimentary cell characterization techniques were conducted to evaluate the hydrophobicity, mobility, size, and surface charge density of the cells at the conditions considered. It was observed that non-starved HU cells were more adhesive than starved HU cells. This behavior is attributed to the relatively high hydrophobicity of the starved cells, which resulted from greater extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) presence. Non-starved DC cells were also the most adhesive whereas 18h starved cells were the least adhesive, although cell characterization results did not correlate to transport trends like HU cells. For both isolates, the cells after 6h of starvation showed high levels of sugar relative to protein in the EPS. Additionally, following 6h of starvation, the cells did not follow expected transport trends as anticipated from the cellular characterization. Our results suggest transport behavior of environmental E. coli isolates differs in terms of isolate host and starvation conditions. Possible mechanisms responsible for this are changes in key cell surface characteristics and synthesis of starvation-induced proteins. This study highlights the importance of consistency in bacterial preparation for experimental studies and has considerable implications for future evaluation and prediction of E. coli fate in subsurface environments.

PMID:
18037467
DOI:
10.1016/j.watres.2007.10.042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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