Effect of concentration of silica encapsulated ds-DNA colloidal microparticles on their transport through saturated porous media

Swagatam Chakraborty*, Jan Willem Foppen, Jack F. Schijven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We investigated the transport and retention kinetics of silica encapsulated – silica core double stranded DNA particles (SiDNASi) through 15 cm saturated quartz sand columns as a function of a wide range of colloid injection concentrations (C0 = 8.7 ×102 - 6.6 ×108 particles ml−1). The breakthrough curves (BTCs) exhibited an overall 2-log increase of maximum relative effluent concentration with increasing C0. Inverse curve fitting, using HYDRUS1D, demonstrated that a 1-site first order kinetic attachment (katt) and detachment (kdet) model sufficed to explain the C0-dependent SiDNASi retention behaviour. With increasing C0, katt log-linearly decreased, which could be expressed as an overall decrease in the single-collector removal efficiency (ƞ). The decrease in ƞ was likely due to increased electrostatic repulsion between aqueous phase- solid phase colloids, formation of shadow zones downstream of deposited colloids and removal of weakly attached colloids from the solid phase (quartz sand) attributing to increased aqueous phase-solid phase intercolloidal collisions as a function of increasing SiDNASi concentration. Our results implied, firstly, that the aqueous phase colloid concentration should be carefully considered in determining colloidal retention behaviour in saturated porous media. Secondly, colloidal transport and retention dynamics in column studies should not be compared without considering colloid influent concentration. Thirdly, our results implied that the applicability of SiDNASi as a conservative subsurface tracer was restricted, since transport distance and retention was colloid concentration dependent. However, the uniqueness of the DNA sequences in SiDNASi imparts the advantage of concurrent use of multiple SiDNASi for flow tracking or porous media characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129625
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2022


  • Attachment rate
  • Injection concentration
  • Saturated porous media
  • Silica encapsulated – silica core dsDNA particles
  • Single collector removal efficiency


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