Faculté des sciences

Bacteriophage transport through a fining-upwards sedimentary sequence : laboratory experiments and simulation

Flynn, Raymond ; Cornaton, Fabien ; Hunkeler, Daniel ; Rossi, Pierre

In: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 2004, vol. 74, no. 1-4, p. 231-252

A column containing four concentric layers of progressively finer-grained glass beads (graded column) was used to study the transport of the bacteriophage T7 in water flowing parallel to layering through a fining-upwards (FU) sedimentary structure. By passing a pulse of T7, and a conservative solute tracer upwards through a column packed with a single bead size (uniform column), the capacity of... Plus

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    Summary
    A column containing four concentric layers of progressively finer-grained glass beads (graded column) was used to study the transport of the bacteriophage T7 in water flowing parallel to layering through a fining-upwards (FU) sedimentary structure. By passing a pulse of T7, and a conservative solute tracer upwards through a column packed with a single bead size (uniform column), the capacity of each bead type to attenuate the bacteriophage was determined. Solute and bacteriophage responses were modelled using an analytical solution to the advection–dispersion equation, with first-order kinetic deposition simulating bacteriophage attenuation. Resulting deposition constants for different flow velocities indicated that filtration theory-determined values differed from experimentally determined values by less than 10%. In contrast, the responses of solute and bacteriophage tracers passing upwards through graded columns could not be reproduced with a single analytical solution. However, a flux-weighted summation of four one-dimensional advective–dispersive analytical terms approximated solute breakthrough curves. The prolonged tailing observed in the resulting curve resembled that typically generated from field-based tracer test data, reflecting the potential importance of textural heterogeneity in the transport of dissolved substances in groundwater. Moreover, bacteriophage deposition terms, determined from filtration theory, reproduced the T7 breakthrough curve once desorption and inactivation on grain surfaces were incorporated. To evaluate the effect of FU sequences on mass transport processes in more detail, bacteriophage passage through sequences resembling those sampled from a FU bed in a fluvioglacial gravel pit were carried out using an analogous approach to that employed in the laboratory. Both solute and bacteriophage breakthrough responses resembled those generated from field-based test data and in the graded column experiments. Comparisons with the results of simulations using averaged hydraulic conductivities show that simulations employing averaged parameters overestimate bacteriophage travel times and underestimate masses recovered and peak concentrations.