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Effect of surfactant addition on phenanthrene biodegradation in sediments

By Harry James Tsomides


A literature search and laboratory treatability study were conducted to determine the potential of commercial surfactants to enhance the bioremediation of PAH-contaminated sediments. Phenanthrene was used as a model PAH and an inoculum of PAH-degrading microorganisms enriched from an aquatic sediment was used in sediment-water slurry microcosm biodegradation experiments. The abilities of nonionic surfactants to reduce surface tension and enhance phenanthrene solubility, the effect of sediment on the physical behavior of surfactants, and the effects of surfactants on phenanthrene biodegradation were examined. Of the surfactants tested, all except Triton X-100 severely inhibited phenanthrene mineralization. Adding Triton X-100 to microcosms with or without sediment significantly enhanced the extent of phenanthrene mineralization after 1 week. These experimental results suggest that this surfactant may be useful in the bioremediation of PAH-contaminated sediments and that further studies using pilot-scale systems or a field demonstration are warranted

Topics: Environmental science, Microbiology, Biology
Year: 1994
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