Modeling Transport of Chemotactic Bacteria in Granular Media with Distributed Contaminant Sources
Adadevoh, J.S.T.; Ostvar, S.; Wood, B.; Ford, R.M.
Environmental Science and Technology 51(24): 14192-14198
Chemotaxis has the potential to improve bioremediation strategies by enhancing the transport of pollutant-degrading bacteria to the source of contamination, leading to increased pollutant accessibility and biodegradation. This computational study extends work reported previously in the literature to include predictions of chemotactic bacterial migration in response to multiple localized contaminant sources within porous media. An advection-dispersion model, in which chemotaxis was represented explicitly as an additional advection-like term, was employed to simulate the transport of bacteria within a sand-packed column containing a distribution of chemoattractant sources. Simulation results provided insight into attractant and bacterial distributions within the column. In particular, it was found that chemotactic bacteria exhibited a distinct biased migration toward contaminant sources that resulted in a 30% decrease in cell recovery, and concomitantly an enhanced retention within the sand column, compared to the nonchemotactic control. Model results were consistent with experimental observations. Parametric studies were conducted to provide insight into the influence of chemotaxis parameters on bacterial migration and cell percent recovery. The model results provide a better understanding of the effect of chemotaxis on bacterial transport in response to distributed contaminant sources.