A Microscale Model of Bacterial and Biofilm Dynamics in Porous Media

A Microscale Model of Bacterial and Biofilm Dynamics in Porous Media

A Microscale Model of Bacterial and Biofilm Dynamics in Porous Media

Abstract

A microscale model for the transport and coupled reaction of microbes and chemicals in an idealized two-dimensional porous media has been developed. This model includes the flow, transport, and bioreaction of nutrients, electron acceptors, and microbial cells in a saturated granular porousmedia. The fluid and chemicals are represented as a continuum, but the bacterial cells and solid granular particles are represented discretely.Bacterial cells can attach to the particle surfaces or be advected in the bulk fluid. The bacterial cells can also be motile and move preferentially via a run and tumble mechanism toward a chemoattractant. The bacteria consume oxygen and nutrients and alter the profiles of these chemicals. Attachment of bacterial cells to the soil matrix and growth of bacteria can change the local permeability. The coupling of mass transport and bioreaction can produce spatial gradients of nutrients and electron acceptor concentrations. We describe a numerical method for the microscalemodel, show results of a convergence study, and present example simulations of the model system.

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