Document Type


Publication Date

January 1970


Laboratory studies on the adsorption of bacteria onto soils and activated carbon were undertaken to evaluate the role of the process in removal of bacteria from groundwater. It was hypothesized that removal of bacteria from water passing through soil would be primarily due to adsorption in which case the bacteria would behave in a manner similar to colloidal particles or chemical molecules. The basic kinetics of uptake of Staphylococcus aureus were determined on activated carbon, a highly adsorbing material chemically speaking. Once the technique was worked out and adsorption demonstrated to take place, sand, clay, and Mendon silt loam were studied. Uptake of bacteria was observed microscopically on both activated carbon and clay. Sand showed no measureable uptake of bacteria. Mendon silt loam was also used in competitive adsorption studies. Sodium chloride, sodium lauryl sulfate and peptone were used and their effects on adsorption of the test organism measured. Results clearly showed uptake of the bacteria with equilibrium reached within one hour. Conventional chemical thermodynamics can be applied to bacterial adsorption onto soils with the determination of Langmiur type isotherms and the subsequent evaluation of