Impact of tortuous flow on bacteria streamer development in microfluidic system during filtration

Abstract : The way in which bacterial communities colonize flow in porous media is of importance but basic knowledge on the dynamic of these phenomena is still missing. The aim of this work is to develop microfluidic experiments in order to progress in the understanding of bacteria capture in filters and membranes. PDMS microfluidic devices mimicking filtration processes have been developed to allow a direct dynamic observation of bacteria across 10 or 20 micrometers width microchannels. When filtered in such devices, bacteria behave surprisingly: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus accumulate in the downstream zone of the filter and form large streamers which oscillate in the flow. In this study streamer formation is put in evidence for bacteria suspension in non nutritive conditions in less than one hour. This result is totally different from the one observed in same system with "inert" particles or dead bacteria which are captured in the bottleneck zone and are accumulated in the upstream zone. Observations within different flow geometries (straight channels, connected channels, staggered row pillars) show that the bacteria streamer development is influenced by the flow configuration and, particularly by the presence of tortuosity within the microchannels zone. These results are discussed at the light of 3D flow simulations. In confined systems and in laminar flow there is secondary flow (z-velocities) superimposed to the streamwise motion (in xy plane). The presence of the secondary flow in the microsystems has an effect on the bacterial adhesion. A scenario in three steps is established to describe the formation of the streamers and to explain the positive effect of tortuous flow on the development kinetics.
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Biomicrofluidics, 2014, vol. 8, pp. 014105-1-014105-12. 〈10.1063/1.4863724〉
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Aurélie Marty, Christel Causserand, Christine Roques, Patrice Bacchin. Impact of tortuous flow on bacteria streamer development in microfluidic system during filtration. Biomicrofluidics, 2014, vol. 8, pp. 014105-1-014105-12. 〈10.1063/1.4863724〉. 〈hal-01003751〉

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