Transport of microorganisms in the terrestrial subsurface: In situ and laboratory methods

By: , and 
Edited by: C.J. HurstR. CrawfordJ. GarlandD.A. LipsonA. Mills, and L.D. Stetzenbach



This chapter describes and discusses laboratory and field techniques for studying microbial transport behavior in aquifer materials and model porous media. Changes in ionic strength (I) during transport studies may occur inadvertently as a result of using halides as conservative tracers and may lead to density-induced sinking of the tracer cloud. Substantive increases in I as a result of injection of high concentrations of halide tracers can also result in overestimations of microbial attachment. In order to differentiate "test" microorganisms from indigenous subsurface populations and/or from other inadvertently introduced populations, microorganisms used in laboratory or in situ transport tests are typically labeled a priori with a stable tag. Other methods of labeling microorganisms for use in in situ and column transport studies have involved the use of stable isotopes ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). The characteristics of the conservative tracer breakthrough curve can then be used comparatively to determine some of the major transport parameters exhibited by the introduced microorganisms. Most controlled field investigations of subsurface microbial transport are conducted on limited spatial scales relative to the scales of interest to those concerned with pathogen transport to water supply wells, with microbially enhanced oil recovery from petroleum reservoirs, and with the feasibility of using introduced bacteria for aquifer restoration.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Transport of microorganisms in the terrestrial subsurface: In situ and laboratory methods
Chapter 70
DOI 10.1128/9781555815882.ch70
Edition 3
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher ASM Press
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 26 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Manual of environmental microbiology
First page 872
Last page 897