Differential effects of dissolved organic carbon upon re-entrainment and surface properties of groundwater bacteria and bacteria-sized microspheres during transport through a contaminated, sandy aquifer

Ronald W. Harvey, David W. Metge, Arvind Mohanram, Xiaodong Gao, Jon Chorover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Injection-and-recovery studies involving a contaminated, sandy aquifer (Cape Cod, Massachusetts) were conducted to assess the relative susceptibility for in situ re-entrainment of attached groundwater bacteria (Pseudomonas stuzeri ML2, and uncultured, native bacteria) and carboxylate-modified microspheres (0.2 and 1.0 μm diameters). Different patterns of re-entrainment were evident for the two colloids in response to subsequent injections of groundwater (hydrodynamic perturbation), deionized water (ionic strength alteration), 77 μM linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS, anionic surfactant), and 76 μM Tween 80 (polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate, a very hydrophobic nonionic surfactant). An injection of deionized water was more effective in causing detachment of micrsopheres than were either of the surfactants, consistent with the more electrostatic nature of microsphere's attachment, their extreme hydrophilicity (hydrophilicity index, HI, of 0.99), and negative charge (zeta potentials, Χ, of -44 to -49 mv). In contrast, Tween 80 was considerably more effective in re-entraining the more-hydrophobic native bacteria. Both the hydrophilicities and zeta potentials of the native bacteria were highly sensitive to and linearly correlated with levels of groundwater dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which varied modestly from 0.6 to 1.3 mg L-1. The most hydrophilic (0.52 HI) and negatively charged (Χ -38.1 mv) indigenous bacteria were associated with the lowest DOC. FTIR spectra indicated the latter community had the highest average density of surface carboxyl groups. In contrast, differences in groundwater (DOC) had no measurable effect on hydrophilicity of the bacteria-sized microspheres and only a minor effect on their Χ. These findings suggest that microspheres may not be very good surrogates for bacteria in field-scale transport studies and that adaptive (biological) changes in bacterial surface characteristics may need to be considered where there is longer-term exposure to contaminant DOC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3252-3259
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume45
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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