Measurement of biocolloid collision efficiencies for granular activated carbon by use of a two-layer filtration model

Ekaterina Paramonova, Erica L. Zerfoss, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Point-of-use filters containing granular activated carbon (GAC) are an effective method for removing certain chemicals from water, but their ability to remove bacteria and viruses has been relatively untested. Collision efficiencies (a) were determined using clean-bed filtration theory for two bacteria (Raoutella terrigena 33257 and Escherichia coli 25922), a bacteriophage (MS2), and latex microspheres for four GAC samples. These GAC samples had particle size distributions that were bimodal, but only a single particle diameter can be used in the filtration equation. Therefore, consistent with previous reports, we used a particle diameter based on the smallest diameter of the particles (derived from the projected areas of 10% of the smallest particles). The bacterial collision efficiencies calculated using the filtration model were high (0.8 ≤ α ≤ 4.9), indicating that GAC was an effective capture material. Collision efficiencies greater than unity reflect an underestimation of the collision frequency, likely as a result of particle roughness and wide GAC size distributions. The collision efficiencies for microspheres (0.7 ≤ α ≤ 3.5) were similar to those obtained for bacteria, suggesting that the microspheres were a reasonable surrogate for the bacteria. The bacteriophage collision efficiencies ranged from ≥0.2 to ≥0.4. The predicted levels of removal for 1-cm-thick carbon beds ranged from 0.8 to 3 log for the bacteria and from 0.3 to 1.0 log for the phage. These tests demonstrated that GAC can be an effective material for removal of bacteria and phage and that GAC particle size is a more important factor than relative stickiness for effective particle removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5190-5196
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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