Bioremediation of a weathered and a recently oil-contaminated soils from Brazil: a comparison study

P V O Trindade, L G Sobral, A C L Rizzo, S G F Leite, A U Soriano
Chemosphere 2005, 58 (4): 515-22
The facility with which hydrocarbons can be removed from soils varies inversely with aging of soil samples as a result of weathering. Weathering refers to the result of biological, chemical and physical processes that can affect the type of hydrocarbons that remain in a soil. These processes enhance the sorption of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) to the soil matrix, decreasing the rate and extent of biodegradation. Additionally, pollutant compounds in high concentrations can more easily affect the microbial population of a recently contaminated soil than in a weathered one, leading to inhibition of the biodegradation process. The present work aimed at comparing the biodegradation efficiencies obtained in a recently oil-contaminated soil (spiked one) from Brazil and an weathered one, contaminated for four years, after the application of bioaugmentation and biostimulation techniques. Both soils were contaminated with 5.4% of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) and the highest biodegradation efficiency (7.4%) was reached for the weathered contaminated soil. It could be concluded that the low biodegradation efficiencies reached for all conditions tested reflect the treatment difficulty of a weathered soil contaminated with a high crude oil concentration. Moreover, both soils (weathered and recently contaminated) submitted to bioaugmentation and biostimulation techniques presented biodegradation efficiencies approximately twice as higher as the ones without the aforementioned treatment (natural attenuation).

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