Effect of bacteria and virus on transport and retention of graphene oxide nanoparticles in natural limestone sediments

Amirhosein Ramazanpour Esfahani, Okke Batelaan, John L. Hutson, Howard J. Fallowfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This research was conducted to evaluate the effect of co-transport of different-sized microorganisms on graphene oxide nanoparticles (GONPs) transport and retention in saturated pristine and biofilm-conditioned limestone columns. The transport and retention behavior of GONPs was studied in columns in the presence of MS2 -as a nano-sized- and Escherichia coli (E.coli) -as a micro-sized- microorganisms at low and high ionic strength conditions. Results showed no changes in GONPs transport and retention at high ionic strength in the presence of MS2 or E. coli, which was attributed to the effect of high concentration of divalent cation on aggregation of nanoparticles and microorganisms. Furthermore, simultaneous enhanced transport and decreased retention of GONPs in column was observed in the co-presence of microorganisms at low ionic strength. Results revealed that the main mechanism governing increasing GONPs transport in porous media was occupation of reactive surface sites of collectors by microorganisms, which prevented attachment of nanoparticles. The pre-saturation of columns with MS2 and E. coli caused increasing transport of GONPs in the columns, due to the occupation of surface reactive sites. Moreover, conditioning limestone collectors with natural biofilm resulted in the same rates of nanoparticle elution and retention (i.e., in the presence or absence of microorganisms) by straining of GONPs in the inlet end of columns which shows that the biofilm acts as a bio-filter against discharging nanoparticles into the effluents. Finally, from the obtained results, it can be postulated that the presence of microorganisms in a MAR site causes risk of groundwater pollution by toxic nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125929
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Breakthrough curve
  • Graphene oxide
  • Limestone
  • Retention profile


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