The influence of dendrimer on the bacterial transport and deposition behaviors in saturated porous media (quartz sand) was investigated in both NaCl (10 and 25 mM) and CaCl2 solutions (1.2 and 5 mM). 3.5G and 4G poly (amido amine) (PAMAM) dendrimer was employed as negatively and positively charged dendrimer, respectively. Three dendrimer concentrations (10 μg/L, 1 and 10 mg/L) were considered in present study. We found that regardless of the solution chemistry (ionic strength and ion types) and dendrimer concentrations, the presence of negatively charged PAMAM 3.5G in suspensions enhanced bacterial transport and inhibited their deposition in quartz sand; while the presence of positive charged PAMAM 4G yet induced the opposite effects (decreased bacterial transport and increased their deposition in quartz sand). The increased repulsive force between cell and quartz sand due to the adsorption of PAMAM 3.5G onto both cell and sand surfaces, the competition deposition sites as well as the steric repulsion via the suspended PAMAM 3.5G drove to the increased bacterial transport with PAMAM 3.5G copresent in suspensions in quartz sand. While the reduced repulsive force between cell and quartz sand induced by the chemical heterogeneity on both cell and sand surfaces (due to the adsorption of positive charged PAMAM 4G) increased bacterial retention in quartz sand with copresence of PAMAM 4G (10 μg/L and 1 mg/L) in suspensions. Steric repulsion due to the presence of great amount of suspended PAMAM 4G yet lead to the enhanced bacterial transport with furthering increasing PAMAM 4G to 10 mg/L relative to the lower PAMAM 4G concentration. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.