skip to main content

Title: Impacts of motile Escherichia coli on air-water surface tension
Immiscible multiphase flow in porous media is largely affected by interfacial properties, manifested in contact angle and surface tension. The gas-liquid surface tension can be significantly altered by suspended particles at the interface. Particle-laden interfaces have unique properties, for example, a lower surface tension of interfaces laden with surfactants or nanoparticles. This study investigates the impacts of a motile bacterium Escherichia coli ( E. coli , strain ATCC 9637) on the air-water surface tension. Methods of the maximum bubble pressure, the du Noüy ring, and the pendant droplet are used to measure the surface tension of the motile-bacteria-laden interfaces. Measured surface tension remains independent to the E. coli concentration when using the maximum bubble pressure method, decreases with increased E. coli concentration in the du Noüy ring method, and presents time-dependent changes by the pendant drop method. The analyses show that the discrepancies may come from the different convection-diffusion processes of E. coli in the flow among various testing methods.
; ; ;
McCartney, J.S.; Tomac, I.
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
E3S Web of Conferences
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. McCartney, J.S. ; Tomac, I. (Ed.)
    Multiphase flow patterns in porous media largely depend on the properties of the fluids and interfaces such as viscosity, surface tension, and contact angle. Microorganisms in soils change the fluid and interfacial properties, and thus can alter multiphase fluid flow in porous media. This study investigates the impact of motile bacterium Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) on fluid displacement patterns in a microfluidic chip. The fluid displacement is observed during the saturation and the desaturation processes of the microfluidic chip with and without E.coli suspension. Time-lapse photography results show that the presence of E.coli alters the displacement patterns during the wetting and drying process and changes the residual saturation of the chip. Although studies of the impacts of motility on interfacial properties remain elusive, these results bring the expectation to the manipulation of multiphase transport in porous media and the adaptive control of industrial and environmental flow processes using active particles.
  2. Abstract Fluid bioreactors in microgravity environments may utilize alternative methods of containment and mixing. The ring-sheared drop (RSD) is a containerless mixing device which functions in microgravity using surface tension for containment and mixes through interfacially-driven flow. To assess the feasibility of using interfacially driven flow devices, such as the RSD, as bioreactors, Escherichia coli growth and recombinant protein expression were analyzed in a ground-based analog of the RSD called the knife edge surface viscometer (KEV). Results demonstrated that the KEV can facilitate the growth of E. coli and that growth rate increases logarithmically with increasing knife edge rotation rate, similar to the standard growth method on Earth (orbital shaker). Furthermore, the KEV was shown to be viable for supporting recombinant protein expression in E. coli at levels comparable to those achieved using standard growth methods.
  3. The interaction of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with air/water interfaces plays a crucial role in their overall stability in solution. We aim to understand this behavior using pendant bubble measurements to track the dynamic tension reduction and x-ray reflectivity to obtain the electron density profiles (EDPs) at the surface. Native immunoglobulin G mAb is a rigid molecule with a flat, “Y” shape, and simulated EDPs are obtained by rotating a homology construct at the surface. Comparing simulations with experimental EDPs, we obtain surface orientation probability maps showing mAbs transition from flat-on Y-shape configurations to side-on or end-on configurations with increasing concentration. The modeling also shows the presence of β sheets at the surface. Overall, the experiments and the homology modeling elucidate the orientational phase space during different stages of adsorption of mAbs at the air/water interface. These finding will help define new strategies for the manufacture and storage of antibody-based therapeutics.
  4. Patterned deposition and 3D fabrication techniques have enabled the use of hydrogels for a number of applications including microfluidics, sensors, separations, and tissue engineering in which form fits function. Devices such as reconfigurable microvalves or implantable tissues have been created using lithography or casting techniques. Here, we present a novel open-microfluidic patterning method that utilizes surface tension forces to form hydrogel layers on top of each other, into a patterned 3D structure. We use a patterning device to form a temporary open microfluidic channel on an existing gel layer, allowing the controlled flow of unpolymerized gel in device-regions. After layer gelation and device removal, the process can be repeated iteratively to create multi-layered 3D structures. The use of open-microfluidic and surface tension-based methods to define the shape of each individual layer enables patterning to be performed with a simple pipette and with minimal dead-volume. Our method is compatible with unmodified (native) biological hydrogels, and other non-biological materials with precursor fluid properties compatible with capillary flow. With our open-microfluidic layer-by-layer fabrication method, we demonstrate the capability to build agarose, type I collagen, and polymer–peptide 3D structures featuring asymmetric designs, multiple components, overhanging features, and cell-laden regions.
  5. Abstract The surface tension of xylem sap has been traditionally assumed to be close to that of the pure water because decreasing surface tension is thought to increase vulnerability to air seeding and embolism. However, xylem sap contains insoluble lipid-based surfactants, which also coat vessel and pit membrane surfaces, where gas bubbles can enter xylem under negative pressure in the process known as air seeding. Because of the insolubility of amphiphilic lipids, the surface tension influencing air seeding in pit pores is not the equilibrium surface tension of extracted bulk sap but the local surface tension at gas–liquid interfaces, which depends dynamically on the local concentration of lipids per surface area. To estimate the dynamic surface tension in lipid layers that line surfaces in the xylem apoplast, we studied the time-dependent and surface area-regulated surface tensions of apoplastic lipids extracted from xylem sap of four woody angiosperm plants using constrained drop surfactometry. Xylem lipids were found to demonstrate potent surface activity, with surface tensions reaching an equilibrium at ~25 mN m-1 and varying between a minimum of 19 mN m-1 and a maximum of 68 mN m-1 when changing the surface area between 50 and 160% around the equilibrium surfacemore »area. It is concluded that xylem lipid films in natural conditions most likely range from nonequilibrium metastable conditions of a supersaturated compression state to an undersaturated expansion state, depending on the local surface areas of gas–liquid interfaces. Together with findings that maximum pore constrictions in angiosperm pit membranes are much smaller than previously assumed, low dynamic surface tension in xylem turns out to be entirely compatible with the cohesion–tension and air-seeding theories, as well as with the existence of lipid-coated nanobubbles in xylem sap, and with the range of vulnerabilities to embolism observed in plants.« less