Protist-facilitated particle transport using emulated soil micromodels.


Microbial processes in the subsurface can be visualized directly using micromodels to emulate pore-scale geometries. Here, emulated soil micromodels were used to measure transport of fluorescent beads in the presence and absence of the soil ciliate Colpoda sp. under quiescent conditions. Beads alone or beads with protists were delivered to the input wells of replicate micromodels that contained three 20 mm(2) channels emulating a sandy loam microstructure. Bead abundance in microstructured channels was measured by direct counts of tiled confocal micrographs. For channels with protists, average bead abundances were approximately 320, 560, 710, 830, and 790 mm(-2) after 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 days, respectively, versus 0, 0, 0.3, 7.8, and 45 mm(-2) without protists. Spatial and temporal patterns of bead abundance indicate that protist-facilitated transport is not a diffusive-type process but rather a function of more complex protist behaviors, including particle uptake and egestion and motility in a microstructured habitat. Protist-facilitated transport may enhance particle mixing in the soil subsurface and could someday be used for targeted delivery of nanoparticles, encapsulated chemicals, or bacteria for remediation and agriculture applications.

DOI: 10.1021/es503424z

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@article{Rubinstein2015ProtistfacilitatedPT, title={Protist-facilitated particle transport using emulated soil micromodels.}, author={Rebecca L Rubinstein and Andrea L Kadilak and Virginia C Cousens and Daniel J. Gage and Leslie M Shor}, journal={Environmental science & technology}, year={2015}, volume={49 3}, pages={1384-91} }