Peer review artikel

Transport and Retention of Fecal Indicator Bacteria in Unsaturated Porous Media: Effect of Transient Water Flow


“For production of clean drinking water, the processes governing bacterial remobilization in the unsaturated zone at transient water flow are critical. Although managed aquifer recharge is an effective way to dispose of pathogens, there are concerns about recontamination after heavy precipitation. To better understand how bacteria that were initially retained in porous media can be released to groundwater due to transient water content, transport experiments and modeling for Escherichia coli and Enterococcus moraviensis were conducted at the soil column scale. After inoculating dune sand columns with a bacteria suspension for 4 h, three rainfall events were performed at 24-h intervals. The effluent from sand columns was collected to analyze bacteria breakthrough curves (BTCs). After the rainfall experiments, the bacteria distribution in the sand column was determined. The collected BTCs and profile retentions were modeled with HYDRUS-1D, using different model concepts, including one-site kinetic attachment/detachment (M1), Langmuirian (M2), Langmuirian and blocking (M3), and two-site attachment/detachment (M4). After inoculation, almost 99% of the bacteria remained in the soil. The M1 and M2 bacteria models had a high agreement between observed and modeled concentrations, and attachment and detachment were two significant mechanisms for regulating bacteria movement in a porous medium with fluctuations in water flow. At the end of the experiment, the majority of bacteria were still found within the depth range of 5 cm to 15 cm. Our experiments show that E. coli is more mobile in sandy soils than E. moraviensis. The results of this study also suggest that the unsaturated zone is an important barrier between microbial contamination at the soil surface and groundwater. Follow-up studies are needed to completely understand the variables that regulate bacteria remobilization in the unsaturated zone of dune sands.”

(Citation: Tehrani, R.S., Hornstra, L.M., – Transport and Retention of Fecal Indicator Bacteria in Unsaturated Porous Media: Effect of Transient Water Flow – Applied and Environmental Microbiology 89(2023)8, art. no. e00219-23 – DOI: 10.1128/aem.00219-23 – (Open Access))

Copyright © 2023 Soltani Tehrani et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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