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Microfluidic study of effects of flow velocity and nutrient concentration on biofilm accumulation and adhesive strength in microchannels

By Na Liu, Tormod Skauge, David Landa-Marbán, Beate Hovland, Bente Thorbjørnsen, Florin Adrain Radu, Bartek Florczyk Vik, Thomas Baumann, Gunhild Bødtker

Posted 24 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/375451 (published DOI: 10.1007/s10295-019-02161-x)

Biofilm accumulation in the porous media can cause plugging and change many physical properties of porous media. Up to now, applications of desired biofilm growth and its subsequent bioplugging have been attempted for various practices. A deeper understanding of the relative influences of hydrodynamic conditions including flow velocity and nutrient concentration, on biofilm growth and detachment is necessary to plan and analyze bioplugging experiments and field trials. The experimental results by means of microscopic imaging over a T-shape microchannel show that flow velocity and nutrient concentrations can have significant impacts on biofilm accumulation and adhesive strength in both flowing and stagnant microchannels. Increase in fluid velocity could facilitate biofilm growth, but that above a velocity threshold, biofilm detachment and inhibition of biofilm formation due to high shear stress were observed. High nutrient concentration prompts the biofilm growth, but was accompanied by a relatively weak adhesive strength. This research provides an overview of biofilm development in a hydrodynamic environment for better predicting and modelling the bioplugging associated with porous system in petroleum industry, hydrogeology, and water purification.

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