A Multiple-Relaxation-Time Lattice-Boltzmann Model for Bacterial Chemotaxis: Effects of Initial Concentration, Diffusion, and Hydrodynamic Dispersion on Traveling Bacterial Bands

Zhifeng Yan, Markus Hilpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bacterial chemotaxis can enhance the bioremediation of contaminants in aqueous and subsurface environments if the contaminant is a chemoattractant that the bacteria degrade. The process can be promoted by traveling bands of chemotactic bacteria that form due to metabolism-generated gradients in chemoattractant concentration. We developed a multiple-relaxation-time (MRT) lattice-Boltzmann method (LBM) to model chemotaxis, because LBMs are well suited to model reactive transport in the complex geometries that are typical for subsurface porous media. This MRT-LBM can attain a better numerical stability than its corresponding single-relaxation-time LBM. We performed simulations to investigate the effects of substrate diffusion, initial bacterial concentration, and hydrodynamic dispersion on the formation, shape, and propagation of bacterial bands. Band formation requires a sufficiently high initial number of bacteria and a small substrate diffusion coefficient. Uniform flow does not affect the bands while shear flow does. Bacterial bands can move both upstream and downstream when the flow velocity is small. However, the bands disappear once the velocity becomes too large due to hydrodynamic dispersion. Generally bands can only be observed if the dimensionless ratio between the chemotactic sensitivity coefficient and the effective diffusion coefficient of the bacteria exceeds a critical value, that is, when the biased movement due to chemotaxis overcomes the diffusion-like movement due to the random motility and hydrodynamic dispersion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2449-2475
Number of pages27
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Volume76
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2014

Keywords

  • Bacterial bands
  • Bacterial chemotaxis
  • Hydrodynamic dispersion
  • Lattice-Boltzmann method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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