The inter-relationship of growth and chemotactic response exhibited by two common soil-inhabiting bacteria was investigated to determine its impact on bacterial migration. Filter-chambers were used to simulate aquifer sediments characterized by vertical gradients of organic contaminants in both artificial groundwater flow systems in the laboratory and within the screened intervals of observation wells in a sandy aquifer. A labile model contaminant (acetate) was added to the top compartments of the three-part chambers, whereas bacteria with a demonstrated propensity to grow on and chemotactically respond to acetate were introduced to the lower compartments, The motility and chemotactic response of Pseudomonas putida F1 resulted in 40 to 110% greater abundances in the upper compartments and concomitant 22 to 70% depletions in the lower compartments relative to the nonchemotactic controls over 2 days. Bacteria were in greatest abundance within the sand plug that separated the upper and lower compartments where sharp acetate gradients induced a strong chemotactic response. This observation was consistent with predictions from a mathematical model. In agreement with the laboratory results, the down-well filter-chamber incubations with Pseudomonas stutzeri in the aquifer indicated that 91% fewer bacteria resided in the lower compartment than the control experiment without acetate at 15 h. The combination of chemotaxis and growth greatly accelerated the migration of bacteria toward and subsequent abundance at the higher acetate concentration. ?? 2008 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Coupled effect of chemotaxis and growth on microbial distributions in organic-amended aquifer sediments: Observations from laboratory and field studies