Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Jin, Yan
item Yates, Marylynn
item Yates, Scott

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2001
Publication Date: 11/10/2002
Citation: Jin, Y., Yates, M.V., Yates, S.R. 2002. Microbial transport. Book Chapter. In: Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 4, Physical Methods, 3rd Ed. J.H. Dane and G.C. Topp (eds), SSSA, Madison, WI. pp. 1481-1505.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Concerns over widespread contamination of surface water and ground water aquifers by microbial pathogens have resulted in an increased interest in research of subsurface microbial transport. Pathogenic organisms present in fecal wastes are of major concern. In addition, land application of wastewater and sewage sludge, private-disposal systems, agricultural runoff, and municipal sanitary landfills are other common sources of microbial contamination in the United States. Three types of microorganisms may travel through porous media: protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. These organisms differ greatly in size, surface properties, and survival in the environment. Viruses are especially important because they are much smaller in size than bacteria or protozoan. While bacteria and protozoa are primarily trapped between soil particles during transport, the smaller viruses are capable of greater passage through the soil. Further, they have the ability to survive for extended periods of time in ground water, they survive longer than enteric bacteria in the environment, and they have been shown to be resistant to disinfection during the wastewater treatment process. In this chapter, we present and evaluate laboratory and field techniques that have been used by various researchers for studying microbial transport behavior in porous media. In particular we will emphasize virus transport, since their smaller size makes them more likely to be transported through the subsurface environment.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page