Investigating the influence of the initial biomass distribution and injection strategies on biofilm-mediated calcite precipitation in porous media


Attachment of bacteria in porous media is a complex mixture of processes resulting in the transfer and immobilization of suspended cells onto a solid surface within the porous medium. Quantifying the rate of attachment is difficult due to the many simultaneous processes possibly involved in attachment, including straining, sorption, and sedimentation, and the difficulties in measuring metabolically active cells attached to porous media. Preliminary experiments confirmed the difficulty associated with measuring active Sporosarcina pasteurii cells attached to porous media. However, attachment is a key process in applications of biofilm-mediated reactions in the subsurface such as microbially induced calcite precipitation. Independent of the exact processes involved, attachment determines both the distribution and the initial amount of attached biomass and as such the initial reaction rate. As direct experimental investigations are difficult, this study is limited to a numerical investigation of the effect of various initial biomass distributions and initial amounts of attached biomass. This is performed for various injection strategies, changing the injection rate as well as alternating between continuous and pulsed injections. The results of this study indicate that, for the selected scenarios, both the initial amount and the distribution of attached biomass have minor influence on the Ca2+2+ precipitation efficiency as well as the distribution of the precipitates compared to the influence of the injection strategy. The influence of the initial biomass distribution on the resulting final distribution of the precipitated calcite is limited, except for the continuous injection at intermediate injection rate. But even for this injection strategy, the Ca2+2+ precipitation efficiency shows no significant dependence on the initial biomass distribution.




Hommel, J., Lauchnor, E., Gerlach, R., Cunningham, A. B., Ebigbo, A., Helmig, R., & Class, H. (2015). Investigating the Influence of the Initial Biomass Distribution and Injection Strategies on Biofilm-Mediated Calcite Precipitation in Porous Media. Transport in Porous Media, 114(2), 557–579. doi:10.1007/s11242-015-0617-3
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