Biogeochemistry of aquifer systems

By:  and 
Edited by: C.J. HurstR. CrawfordJ. GarlandA.L. MillsD.A. Lipson, and L.D. Stetzenbach

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Abstract

Many studies have examined the differences in bacterial numbers, composition, and activity between groundwater and sediment samples. The majority of the literature has suggested higher percentages of attached bacteria than of unattached bacteria in aquifer systems, including in pristine aquifers and in aquifers contaminated with petroleum, creosote, sewage, and landfill leachate. In studies of aquifer biogeochemistry, much useful information regarding the microbial ecology of the system can be obtained by looking at organic compound and electron acceptor concentrations. An overview of approaches for identifying the redox characteristics of sediment is given in Christensen et al., and methods specific for determining reactive iron species in aquifers are reviewed by Heron et al. and Tuccillo et al. Other solid-phase electron acceptors that are important in aquifer systems include Mn(IV) oxides and barite. Important biogeochemical reactions catalyzed by indigenous microorganisms also are studied using a variety of experimental approaches including laboratory batch and column experiments as well as field-based in situ microcosms, tracer tests, and push-pull tests. The advantage of using a radiolabeled tracer in a study was that the reaction rates could be determined for the different steps in the denitrification pathway. Historically, researchers trained in geochemistry and hydrology created and tested hypotheses about aquifer biogeochemistry through laboratory assays and field-based geo-chemical measurements and experiments. Jeon et al. extended this research by using push-pull tests combined with stable-isotope probing to identify the specific members of the microbial community actively degrading naphthalene and rates of naphthalene degradation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Biogeochemistry of aquifer systems
Chapter 68
DOI 10.1128/9781555815882.ch68
Edition 3
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher ASM Press
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Manual of environmental microbiology
First page 843
Last page 859