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Water-to-Air Transfer and Enrichment of Bacteria in Drops from Bursting Bubbles

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Abstract

An electrostatic induction technique was used to determine both drop size distribution and concentration of bacteria in the film drops produced by bubbles bursting at the surface of a suspension of Serratia marcescens. Film drops are produced from the collapse of the thin film of water that just before bursting separates the air in the bubble from the atmosphere. Bubbles of 1.7-mm diameter produced from 10 to 20 film drops which ranged from <2 μm to over 30 μm in diameter. Half the drops were <10 μm. For bubbles rising a distance of less than 2 cm through the bacterial suspension, bacterial enrichment factors in the drops were between 10 and 20. Electrostatic methods can be used to determine the enrichment of bacteria in film drops as a function of bubble size and distance of rise through the bacterial suspension.

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