In an earlier article, we reported that, under conditions in which neither exopolymers nor bacterial mats were produced, Arthrobacter sp. strain AK19 was an effective plugging agent in sand columns, whereas the bacterial strain SLI- had no significant effect on the permeability of the medium. A laboratory experiment with sand columns was carried out to elucidate the causes of this difference in behavior. Measured values of the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the sand were explained in terms of biomass accumulation, which was estimated by solving a mass balance equation. The relationship between the saturated hydraulic conductivity and the biomass density within the sand was exponential, although two different exponential coefficients were needed to fit the data for biomass densities above or below 13 mg (wet weight) per cm3, suggesting that two different clogging mechanisms may be involved in different ranges of biomass densities. The experimental results suggest that the SLI- strain was a poor clogging agent partly because of its lower yield coefficient relative to the limiting nutrient (oxygen) and partly because 60% of the biomass produced in situ was washed out from the column, compared with only 1.2% in the case of Arthrobacter sp. strain AK19
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