Article

Biodegradation

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 11-17

First online:

Benzene Degradation Coupled with Chlorate Reduction in a Soil Column Study

  • N. C. G. TanAffiliated withDepartment Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University and Research center Email author 
  • , W. van DoesburgAffiliated withDepartment Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University and Research center
  • , A. A. M. LangenhoffAffiliated withEnvironment and Geosciences, TNO
  • , A. J. M. StamsAffiliated withDepartment Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University and Research center

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Abstract

Perchlorate and chlorate are electron acceptors that during reduction result in the formation of molecular oxygen. The produced oxygen can be used for activation of anaerobic persistent pollutants, like benzene. In this study chlorate was tested as potential electron acceptor to stimulate benzene degradation in anoxic polluted soil column. A chlorate amended benzene polluted soil column was operated over a period of 500 days. Benzene was immediately degraded in the column after start up, and benzene removal recovered completely after omission of chlorate or a too high influent chlorate concentration (22 mM). Mass balance calculations showed that per mole of benzene five mole of chlorate were reduced. At the end of the experiment higher loading rates were applied to measure the maximal benzene degradation rate in this system; a breakthrough of benzene was not observed. The average benzene degradation rate over this period was 31 μmol l−1 h−1 with a maximal of 78 μmol l−1 h−1. The high degradation rate and the necessity of chlorate indicate that oxygen produced during chlorate reduction indeed is used for the activation of benzene. This is the first column study where benzene biodegradation at a high rate coupled with anaerobic chlorate reduction is observed.

Keywords

benzene degradation biodegradation chlorate reduction soil column