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Transport phenomena of Bacillus cereus spores through soil

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  037029,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14173) @2003
Authors:   Min Young Kim, Stephanie Boon, Christopher Y. Choi, Charles Gerba
Keywords:   Bacillus, spores, transport, groundwater contamination

In this study, a series of column experiments were conducted to assess the effects of various factors on the movement of spores through soil. Bacillus cereus spores with an average size of 1.25 m were introduced into the column and the mass recovery rates were compared among the different experiments, which included factors of pH, grain size and flow rate. The mass recovery of B. cereus from the effluent was reduced due to decreased grain size of the soil, from 20/30 mesh to 40/50 mesh. The movement of B. cereus was enhanced as the pH of injected water was increased from 7.21 to 8.50. Among the three factors, flow rate had the greatest influence on the movement of B. cereus spores through the soil. The change in mass recovery of the spores during the flow rate experiment indicated that the movement of spores through soil is directly proportional to the flow rate. The mass recovery of the spores during the high flow rate of 3.0 mL/min was three times greater than of the lower flow rate (1.3 mL/min). Previous studies stated that spore germination may enhance the detachment of B. cereus spores from soil particles, resulting in greater spore transport. The overall findings of this study indicate that spores are a low potential risk for ground water contamination in the soil environment due to their high retention to soil particles as compared to vegetative cells.

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