Environmental engineering science

Improving Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Biodegradation in Contaminated Soil Through Low-Level Surfactant Addition After Conventional Bioremediation.

PMID 27678476


Efficacy of bioremediation for soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may be limited by the fractions of soil-bound PAHs that are less accessible to PAH-degrading microorganisms. In previous test-tube-scale work, submicellar doses of nonionic surfactants were screened for their ability to enhance the desorption and biodegradation of residual PAHs in soil after conventional bioremediation in a laboratory-scale, slurry-phase bioreactor. Polyoxyethylene sorbitol hexaoleate (POESH) was the optimum surfactant for enhancing PAH removal, especially the high-molecular weight PAHs. This work extends that concept by treating the effluent from the slurry-phase bioreactor in a second-stage batch reactor, to which POESH was added, for an additional 7 or 12 days. Surfactant amendment removed substantial amounts of the PAHs and oxy-PAHs remaining after conventional slurry-phase bioremediation, including more than 80% of residual 4-ring PAHs. Surfactant-amended treatment decreased soil cytotoxicity, but often increased the genotoxicity of the soil as measured using the DT-40 chicken lymphocyte DNA damage response assay. Potential ecotoxicity, measured using a seed germination assay, was reduced by bioreactor treatment and was reduced further after second-stage treatment with POESH. Of bacteria previously implicated as potential PAH degraders under POESH-amended conditions in a prior study, members of the

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