Quantifying mircoorganism/organic matter interactions in saturated porous media.

Raymond Flynn, Xinyao Yang, T. Hofmann, Frank Von Der Kammer

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Proteins and humic acids are common constituents of waste water. Latex colloids (colloids) acted as surrogates for microorganisms in multiple pulse dynamic column experiments (MPEs) that permitted colloid mobility to be quantified before and after the injection of either BSA (a protein), or Suwannee River humic acid (SRHA).
    At low OM coverage colloid breakthrough curves demonstrated both BSA and SRHA reduced colloid deposition rates, but did not affect colloid irreversible deposition mechanisms. By contrast, high levels of SRHA surface coverage not only further reduced the matrix’s ability to attenuate colloids, but also resulted in reversible adsorption of a significant fraction of colloids deposited. Modelling of colloid responses using random sequential adsorption modelling suggested that 1 microgram of SRHA had the same effect as the deposition of 5.90±0.14 x109 colloids; the model suggested that adsorption of the same mass of BSA was equivalent to the deposition of between 7.1x108 and 2.3x109 colloids.
    Colloid responses in MPEs where BSA coverage of colloid deposition sites approached saturation demonstrated the sand matrix remained capable of adsorbing colloids. However, in contrast to responses observed in MPEs at low surface coverage, continued colloid injection showed that the sand’s attenuation capacity increased with time, i.e. colloid concentrations declined as more were deposited (filter ripening).
    Importance: Study results highlight the contrasting responses that may arise due to the interactions between colloids and OM in porous media. Results not only underscore that colloids can interact differently with various forms of deposited OM, but also that a single type of OM may generate dramatically different responses depending on the degree of surface coverage. The MPE method provides a means of quantifying the influence of OM on microorganism mobility in porous media such as filter beds, which may be used for either drinking water treatment or waste water treatment. In the wider environment study findings have potential to allow more confident predictions of the mobility of sewage derived pathogens discharging to groundwater.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventCanadian Water Network Fall Meeting - Banff, Canada
    Duration: 23 Sep 201226 Sep 2012


    ConferenceCanadian Water Network Fall Meeting


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