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Adhesion mediated transport of bacterial pathogens in saturated sands coated by phyllosilicates and Al-oxides

Zhi-neng Hong, Jun Jiang, Jiu-yu Li, Ren-kou Xu, Jing Yan
Colloids and surfaces 2019 v.181 pp. 215-225
Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, aluminum oxide, bacteria, chemical interactions, coatings, hydrophobicity, ionic strength, kaolinite, montmorillonite, pH, pathogens, porous media, prediction, quartz, soil
The current knowledge of bacterial migration is mainly derived from work using bare or Fe-coated quartz sands as porous media. However, mineral coatings on quartz by phyllosilicates and Al-oxides prevail in natural soils, and their effect on bacterial transport remains unknown. Herein, we systematically explored the transport of two bacterial pathogens (Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus) through saturated bare quartz and those coated by kaolinite (KaoQuartz), montmorillonite (MontQuartz) or Al-oxides (AlQuartz) under various solution ionic strength (IS) and pH levels. Elevating IS or decreasing pH discouraged bacterial mobility in all cases, with one exception for the migration of S. aureus through AlQuartz at various IS levels. E. coli showed a higher mobility than S. aureus in all cases. All the three coatings, especially the Al-oxides inhibited bacterial transport through quartz. Overall, the two phyllosilicates-coated sands showed transport behaviors (mobility trends with IS, pH, and cell type) similar to those for the bare quartz which could be explained by the Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory. Nevertheless, for transport within AlQuartz, there were deviations between the observations and the DLVO predictions, probably because of the existence of non-DLVO forces such as hydrophobic and chemical interactions. More importantly, the bacterial retention was found to correlate well with the adhesion regardless of the solution condition and the bacteria and media type, thereby revealing a central role of adhesion in mediating migration through mineral-coated sands. These findings highlight the significance of mineral coating and adhesion in pathogen dissemination in natural soils.