The influence of physicochemical characteristics and motility on bacterial transport in groundwater were examined in flow-through columns. Four strains of bacteria isolated from a crystalline rock groundwater system were investigated, with carboxylate-modified and amidine-modified latex microspheres and bromide as reference tracers. The bacterial isolates included a gram-positive rod (ML1), a gram-negative motile rod (ML2), a nonmotile mutant of ML2 (ML2m), and a gram-positive coccoid (ML3). Experiments were repeated at two flow velocities, in a glass column packed with glass beads, and in another packed with iron-oxyhydroxide coated glass beads. Bacteria breakthrough curves were interpreted using a transport equation that incorporates a sorption model from microscopic observation of bacterial deposition in flow-cell experiments. The model predicts that bacterial desorption rate will decrease exponentially with the amount of time the cell is attached to the solid surface. Desorption kinetics appeared to influence transport at the lower flow rate, but were not discernable at the higher flow rate. Iron-oxyhydroxide coatings had a lower-than-expected effect on bacterial breakthrough and no effect on the microsphere recovery in the column experiments. Cell wall type and shape also had minor effects on breakthrough. Motility tended to increase the adsorption rate, and decrease the desorption rate. The transport model predicts that at field scale, desorption rate kinetics may be important to the prediction of bacteria transport rates. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Effect of cell physicochemical characteristics and motility on bacterial transport in groundwater