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Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) are considered to play an important role in the stabilization of intertidal mudflats. In this study the role of EPS as a binding agent in intertidal sediments was investigated. For this purpose two EPS fractions (termed coll-SF and EDTA-SF) were isolated from intertidal sediment and characterized in terms of monosaccharide- and size distribution. In slurry addition experiments the sorption characteristics of these EPS-fractions as well as their effect on sediment properties were examined under varying Ca2+-concentrations. Results showed more EDTA-SF adsorbed to the sediment compared to coll-SF. For both fractions more EPS adsorbed to the sediment when Ca2+-concentration increased. This effect was stronger for EDTA-SF. The differences in sorption between the two fractions could not be explained in terms of monosaccharide- and size distribution, which were largely similar. The addition of EPS in the presence or absence of Ca2+ did not alter the rheology of the sediment slurries indicating that there was no effect of EPS on the sediment properties. This contradicts results of experiments with bacterial EPS as well as field observations in which the presence of EPS/biofilms leads to an increase in the erosion resistance of the sediment. Possible causes for this discrepancy in results are discussed. [KEYWORDS: Carbohydrates, EPS, Extracellular Polymeric Substances, Intertidal mudflat, Rheology, Sorption]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-71
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ID: 79226