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AMB Express. 2017 Dec;7(1):38. doi: 10.1186/s13568-017-0340-2. Epub 2017 Feb 14.

Quantifying bacterial attachment and detachment using leaching solutions of various ionic strengths after bacterial pulse.

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Department of Rural Systems Engineering/Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Republic of Korea.
Center for Water Resources Cycle Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Hwarang-ro 14-gil 5, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, 02792, Republic of Korea.
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University, Anam Dong 5-1, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul, 02841, Republic of Korea.
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University, Anam Dong 5-1, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul, 02841, Republic of Korea.


In this study, we quantified the attachment and detachment of bacteria during transport in order to elucidate the contributions of reversible attachment on bacterial breakthrough curves. The first set of breakthrough experiment was performed for a laboratory sand column using leaching solutions of deionized water and mineral salt medium (MSM) of 200 mM with reference to KCl solution by employing Pseudomonas putida as a model bacterium. In the second set of experiment, the ionic strengths of leaching solutions immediately after bacterial pulse were lowered to tenfold and 100-fold diluted system (2 and 20 mM MSM) to focus on the influence of physicochemical factor. Results have shown that bacterial retention occurred in the sand column due to the physical deposition and physicochemical attachment. The physicochemical attachment was attributed to the high ionic strength (200 mM MSM) of leaching solution and the formation of primary energy minimum. Replacing the 200 mM leaching solution with the lower ionic strengths after pulse resulted in the increased tailing of breakthrough curve due to the detachment from the attached bacteria. The detachment could be well explained by DLVO theory, which showed the formation of energy barrier and disappearance of the secondary minimum as the ionic strength gradually decreased. Analysis of mass recovery revealed that 12-20% of the attachment was due to physical and physicochemical attachment, respectively, where the latter consisted of 25-75% of irreversible and reversible attachment respectively.


Attachment; Bacteria transport; Chemical perturbation; DLVO; Ionic strength; Reversibility

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