Measurement of bacterial collision efficiencies in porous media

Mark J. Gross, Otto Albinger, David G. Jewett, Bruce E. Logan, Roger C. Bales, Robert G. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


A new method, utilizing radiolabeled (3H-leucine) cells and 1-cm columns packed with 40-μm borosilicate glass beads was used to estimate bacterial collision efficiency by directly measuring the retention of cells in porous media. At a fractional retention of 0.051 (n = 3), the coefficient of variation was 0.037, permitting meaningful estimation of collision efficiencies as low as 3 × 10-5. Collision efficiency was a function of the ionic strength and pecies identity; α increased from 1.6 × 10-3 to 1.4 × 10-2 for A. paradoxus in 10-5 and 10-3 M NaCl solutions, respectively, and from 8.9 × 10-3 to 6.2 × 10-2 for P. fluorescens in the same solutions. Results were not sensitive to test parameters such as velocity, volume filtered and rinse volume. The new procedure provides a convenient, reliable, accurate method for estimating low-end biocolloid collision efficiencies in porous media. In the range α < 0.01, the method is economical, significantly faster, and much more reliable than other published procedures. Its application may accelerate efforts to establish functional relationships between biocolloid collision efficiency and governing physical-chemical variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1151-1158
Number of pages8
JournalWater research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteria
  • biocolloid
  • collision efficiency
  • filtration
  • porous media
  • radiolabel
  • transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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