Effects of starvation on bacterial transport through porous media
Cunningham, Alfred B.
Sharp, Robert R.
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A major problem preventing widespread implementation of microbial injection strategies for bioremediation and/or microbially enhanced oil recovery is the tendency of bacteria to strongly adhere to surfaces in the immediate vicinity of the injection point. Long term (weeks to months) nutrient starvation of bacteria prior to injection can decrease attachment and enhance transport through porous media. This paper summarizes results of starvation-enhanced transport experiments in sand columns of 30 cm, 3 m, and 16 m in length. The 16 m column experiments compared transport, breakthrough and distribution of adhered cells for starved and vegetative cultures of Klebsiella oxytoca, a copious biofilm producer. Results from these experiments were subsequently used to design and construct a field-scale biofilm barrier using starved Pseudomonas fluorescens. The 30 cm and 3 m sand columns experiments investigated starvation-enhanced transport of Shewanella algae BrY, a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium. In both cases the vegetative cells adsorbed onto the sand in higher numbers than the starved cells, especially near the entrance of the column. These results, taken together with studies cited in the literature, indicate that starved cells penetrate farther (i.e. higher breakthrough concentration) and adsorb more uniformly along the flow path than vegetative cells.
Cunningham AB, Sharp RS, Caccavo Jr F, Gerlach R, "Effects of starvation on bacterial transport through porous media," Adv Wat Resour 2007 30(6-7):1583-1592