Quantifying bacterial attachment and detachment using leaching solutions of various ionic strengths after bacterial pulse

Nag Choul Choi, Jae Woo Choi, Kyu Sang Kwon, Sang Gil Lee, Soonjae Lee

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11 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we quantified the attachment and detachment of bacteria during transport in order to elucidate the contributions of reversible attachment on bacterial breakthrough curves. The first set of breakthrough experiment was performed for a laboratory sand column using leaching solutions of deionized water and mineral salt medium (MSM) of 200 mM with reference to KCl solution by employing Pseudomonas putida as a model bacterium. In the second set of experiment, the ionic strengths of leaching solutions immediately after bacterial pulse were lowered to tenfold and 100-fold diluted system (2 and 20 mM MSM) to focus on the influence of physicochemical factor. Results have shown that bacterial retention occurred in the sand column due to the physical deposition and physicochemical attachment. The physicochemical attachment was attributed to the high ionic strength (200 mM MSM) of leaching solution and the formation of primary energy minimum. Replacing the 200 mM leaching solution with the lower ionic strengths after pulse resulted in the increased tailing of breakthrough curve due to the detachment from the attached bacteria. The detachment could be well explained by DLVO theory, which showed the formation of energy barrier and disappearance of the secondary minimum as the ionic strength gradually decreased. Analysis of mass recovery revealed that 12–20% of the attachment was due to physical and physicochemical attachment, respectively, where the latter consisted of 25–75% of irreversible and reversible attachment respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalAMB Express
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This subject is supported by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) as “GAIA (Geo-Advanced Innovative Action) Project (ARQ201502032001)”. We also thank professor Dong-Ju Kim’s insightful suggestions. Corresponding author acknowledged Korea University for support the establishment of laboratory.

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge that this work was funded in part by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (ARQ201502032001). This work was also supported by Korea University (K1609961).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s).


  • Attachment
  • Bacteria transport
  • Chemical perturbation
  • DLVO
  • Ionic strength
  • Reversibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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