Non-biodegradable objects may boost microbial growth in water bodies by harnessing bubbles
Srivastava, Atul; Kikuchi, Kenji; Ishikawa, Takuji (2021), Non-biodegradable objects may boost microbial growth in water bodies by harnessing bubbles, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rfj6q579w
Given the ubiquity of bubbles and non-biodegradable wastes in aqueous environments, their transport through bubbles should be widely extant in water bodies. In this study, we investigate the effect of bubble-induced waste transport on microbial growth by using yeasts as model microbes and a silicone rubber object as a model waste. Noteworthily, this object repeatedly rises and sinks in fluid through fluctuations in bubble acquired buoyant forces produced by cyclic nucleation, growth and release of bubbles from object’s surface. The rise-sink movement of object gives rise to a strong bulk mixing and an enhanced resuspension of cells from the floor. Such spatially dynamic contaminant inside a nutrient-rich medium also leads to an increment in the total microbe concentration in the fluid. The enhanced concentration is caused by strong nutrient mixing generated by the object’s movement which increases the nutrient supply to growing microbes and thereby, prolonging their growth phases. We confirm these findings through a theoretical model for cell concentration and nutrient distribution in fluid medium. The model is based on the continuum hypothesis and it uses the general conservation law which takes an advection-diffusion-growth form. We conclude the study with demonstration of bubble-induced digging of objects from model sand.