Irrigation Science

, Volume 36, Issue 4–5, pp 203–216 | Cite as

Size and stability of suspended aggregates in municipal effluents containing montmorillonite, bacteria and fulvic acid

  • Sagi Katz
  • Michael Wagner
  • Harald Horn
  • Jorge Tarchitzky
  • Yona Chen
Original Paper


Utilizing treated wastewater (TWW) for irrigation results in biological and chemical deposits. TWW components such as bacteria and suspend minerals interact under different environmental conditions, forming aggregates varying in size and stability that may adversely affect water flow in drippers. Our aim in this study was to characterize aggregates’ size and stability in suspensions of bacteria and clay particles, under different conditions prevailing in TWW. Flocculation value tests, thermal analysis, microscopy and particle size distribution were used to measure bacterial–clays interaction in suspension. Our results showed suspension stability increase with an increase in bacterial population. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) produced by bacteria or added as fulvic acid was found to be the most important parameter involved in determining aggregate size and stability under similar environmental condition. The presence of these components most commonly resulted in higher stability of the suspension, mainly smaller particles in suspension. A novel measurement aimed to determine size and stability parameters for suspended particles has been established and was found to be useful in predicting suspended compound interactions.





Bacterial suspension


Fulvic acid


Flocculation value


Flocculation value of suspension after 20 h


Organic matter


Dissolved organic matter


Dissolved organic carbon

D state

Dispersive state

F state

Flocculated state


Extracellular polymeric substances


Sodium absorption ratio


Thermal gravity analysis


Differential thermal analysis




Treated wastewater


Total suspended solids


Volatile suspended solids


Fixed suspended solids


Shear stress



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the BMBF-Germany (Project number 02WA1297A), MOST-Israel and the Chief Scientist, Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Project number WT1302/GR2444).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sagi Katz
    • 1
  • Michael Wagner
    • 2
    • 3
  • Harald Horn
    • 2
  • Jorge Tarchitzky
    • 1
  • Yona Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael
  2. 2.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Engler-Bunte-InstitutKarlsruheGermany
  3. 3.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Functional InterfacesEggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany

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