Experimental studies of the influence of grain size, oxygen availability and organic carbon availability on bioclogging in porous media

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Changes in the hydraulic properties of porous material due to bioclogging have been observed in many laboratory simulations and field studies. Because such changes in hydraulic properties influence the movement of fluids and contaminants, microbial ecology data are required for improved transport modeling. Here we investigate the effects of environmental variables previously shown to influence bioclogging, specifically oxygen availability, sediment grain size, and organic carbon (nutrient) concentration on the hydraulic properties of simulated subsurface environments. Our study provides evidence of a different clogging mechanism for aerobic and anaerobic microbial communities under high organic carbon concentrations (400 mg L-1). This work also suggests that the clogging mechanism operating in anaerobic microbial communities is more sensitive to carbon availability than that in the aerobic microbial communities. We found that grain size does have an effect on clogging, but it appears that there is a threshold carbon concentration, and therefore biomass, below which these effects are insignificant. Differences between the microbial communities that developed under different oxygenation conditions were detected using 16s rRNA analysis. © 2008 American Chemical Society.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1491
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008

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