Effects of pH and Geological Medium on Bacteriophage MS2 Transport in a Model Aquifer Academic Article uri icon


  • A 1-meter long model aquifer has been used to simulate the effects of pH on the fate and transport of bacteriophage MS2 in a shallow groundwater system. The results show that transport of MS2 in sensitive to the pH of groundwater and the isoelectric points of minerals in the groundwater medium. At a slightly alkaline groundwater pH. transport rates of the MS2 bacteriophage were greater than that of a conservative tracer, bromide. Greater transport rates were interpreted as a preferential pathway effect due to the larger size of MS2. Pore exclusion and straining may also have contributed to the faster transport of MS2. At a neutral pH similar transport rates for both MS2 and the conservative tracer were observed. At a slightly acidic pH, however, the MS2 breakthrough concentration was trailing the breakthrough of the conservative tracer that was attributed to the pronounced effect of reversible adsorption at lower pH values. Acidic conditions also increased greatly the effect of irreversible sorption. The effect of increased reversible and irreversible sorption of MS2 at lower pHs can be explained with the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) potential energy profile. Irreversible sorption corresponds to the primary energy minimum of MS2-feldspar attraction, while reversible sorption corresponds to the secondary minimum of MS2-quarts attraction that can be overcome by Brownian motion.

published proceedings

  • Geomicrobiology Journal

altmetric score

  • 10

author list (cited authors)

  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Guan, H., & Pillai, S. D.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Schulze-Makuch, Dirk||Guan, Huade||Pillai, Suresh D

publication date

  • January 2003