On the low-frequency electrical polarization of bacterial cells in sands

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We performed electrical measurements on sands flushed with bacterial suspensions of varying concentration. The first experiment was conducted with Shewanella putrefaciens (biomass 0-0.5 mg/L) and the second with Escherichia coli (biomass 0-42 mg/L). We measured a biomass- dependent low-frequency (10 Hz) polarization. At cell density <12 mg/L polarization decreased (up to 60 %) relative to before introduction of calls; the decrease was greater when the sand was artificially. Fe-coated to enhance the affinity of cells to the mineral surface. At cell density >12mg/L polarization increased (up to 15%). We attribute the decrease in polarization at low cell density to alteration of the mineral-fluid interface due to mineral-cell interactions. The polarization enhancement at higher cell density is possibly a pore throat mechanism resulting from decreased ionic mobility and/or electron transfer due to cell accumulation in pores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 28 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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