Anaerobic biodegradation of no. 2 diesel fuel in soil: a soil column study

R Boopathy
Bioresource Technology 2004, 94 (2): 143-51
Soil and sediments are contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons in many parts of the world. Anaerobic degradation of petroleum hydrocarbon is very relevant in removing oil spills in the anaerobic zones of soil and sediments. This research investigates the possibility of degrading no. diesel fuel under anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic packed soil columns were used to simulate and study in situ bioremediation of soil contaminated with diesel fuel. Several anaerobic conditions were evaluated in soil columns, including sulfate reducing, nitrate reducing, methanogenic, and mixed electron acceptor conditions. The objectives were to determine the extent of diesel fuel degradation in soil columns under various anaerobic conditions and identify the best conditions for efficient removal of diesel fuel. Diesel fuels were degraded significantly under all conditions compared to no electron supplemented soil column (natural attenuation). However, the rate of diesel degradation was the highest under mixed electron acceptor conditions followed in order by sulfate reducing, nitrate reducing, and methanogenic conditions. Under mixed electron acceptor condition 81% of diesel fuel was degraded within 310 days. While under sulfate reducing condition 54.5% degradation of diesel fuel was observed for the same period. This study showed evidence for diesel fuel metabolism in a mixed microbial population system similar to any contaminated field sites, where heterogeneous microbial population exists.

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