Coupled abiotic-biotic mineralization of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) in soil slurry

Paul S Schrader, Thomas F Hess
Journal of Environmental Quality 2004, 33 (4): 1202-9
The explosive 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a contaminant of soils and ground waters worldwide. To help alleviate such environmental contamination, we investigated a coupled abiotic-biotic treatment scheme for remediating TNT-contaminated soil in slurry solutions. Two types of soil were used (sandy and silt loam) to simulate different soils that might be found at actual sites. These soils were subsequently contaminated with 5000 mg kg(-1) TNT. Mineralization of TNT was initially optimized for minimum reactant use (Fe(3+) and H(2)O(2)) and maximum soil slurry percentage (percent solids) using modified Fenton reactions conducted in the absence of light followed by the addition of an uncharacterized aerobic biomass. Greater than 97% TNT degradation was observed under optimum reaction conditions for both soils. Using two optimum reactant concentrations for each soil, coupled abiotic-biotic reactions showed an increase in TNT mineralization, from 41 to 73% and 34 to 64% in the sandy soil (10 and 20% slurry, respectively, 1470 mM H(2)O(2)), and increases from 12 to 23% and 13 to 28% in the silt loam soil (5% slurry, 294 and 1470 mM H(2)O(2), respectively). These results show promise in the use of combined abiotic-biotic treatment processes for soils contaminated with high concentrations of TNT.


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