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Feasibility studies with GeoPET: microbial processes tomography in geological environments
Mickein, K.; Kutschke, S.; Pollmann, K.; Kulenkampff, J.; Lippmann-Pipke, J.;
Positron emission tomography (PET) is widely used in radiology to visualized cancer cells and infections in human tissue. This functional imaging technique is commonly used in order to visualize processes in the body with the help of radioactive substances. In addition, this method has been used for the investigation of transport processes in geological materials [1].
The aim of our work is the development of a method for the application of PET for geo-microbial research. We will use this technique for the spatio-temporal visualization of the mobility of bacteria in geological matrices. The visualization of the formation of biofilms and their influence on flow paths in different matrices is an important aspect as well. In addition, it offers the possibility to get insights into microbial processes (e.g. bioleaching) in opaque materials.
Some basic investigations for the experimental set-up are necessary. First, the method requires an efficient non-toxic method that allows the selective labeling of bacteria without interfering with the geological matrix. Currently, we are investigating a selection of antimicrobial peptides for their use as appropriate marker. Second, appropriate bacteria are selected for further investigation. Pseudomonas fluorescens and Lysinibacillus sphaericus JG-A12 were chosen as typical organisms living in soil. Third, the interactions of the different compounds and the influence of experimental parameters need to be tested. For further experiments it is very important to examine the stability of the label as well as adsorption and desorption processes of the PET nuclides and of the labeled substances in conjunction with different matrices. The characterisation of model columns that are filled with quartz gravel or copper ore needs to be investigated as well. Fluid dynamics and structural parameters like porosity and the internal surface area have to be investigated.
In this study we present our recent results on the development of a PET-method that allows the in-situ labeling of bacteria and the visualization of their mobility in geological matrices.

[1] Gründig, M., M. Richter, et al. (2003). Positron Emission Tomography for investigation of water flow in soil columns. Geochemical Processes in Soil and Groundwater. H. D. Schulz. Weinheim, Wiley-VCH: 550-559.
  • Poster
    Annual Conference of the Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM), 11.-13.03.2013, Bremen, Deutschland

Publ.-Id: 18482 - Permalink