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Diffusivity of bacteria

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Abstract

The effects of motility and aggregation on the diffusion coefficient for bacteria were studied in an aqueous system. The effects of cell concentrations, capillary tube sizes, and dilution rates on the diffusion coefficient were examined. In general, motile cells can diffuse about 1000 times faster than non-motile cells.Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a motile cell, andKlebsiella pneumoniae, a non-motile cell, were used for this research. Diffusion coefficients were measured by the capillary tube assay developed by Adler [1969]. From this procedure the diffusion coefficient ofPseudomonas aeruginosa was 2.1×10−5 (standard deviation: 1.0× 10−5) cm2/s and that ofKlebsiella pneumoniae was 0.9×10−5 (standard deviation : 0.5 × 10−5) cm2/s. The diffusion coefficient ofPseudomonas aeruginosa was about 2.3 times higher than that ofKlebsiella pneumoniae. The Stokes-Einstein equation could not be used for estimating the diffusion coefficients forKlebsiella pneumoniae andPseudomonas aeruginosa. The experimental value for the diffusion coefficient ofKlebsiella pneumoniae was about 2000 times higher than that (4.5×10−9 cm2/s) obtained from the Stokes-Einstein equation. This discrepancy was due to the aggregation ofKlebsiella pneumoniae.

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Kim, Y. Diffusivity of bacteria. Korean J. Chem. Eng. 13, 282–287 (1996) doi:10.1007/BF02705951

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Key words

  • Diffusivity
  • Bacteria
  • Aggregation
  • Motile
  • Non Motile