, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 115–125 | Cite as

Potential of preliminary test methods to predict biodegradation performance of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil

  • H. Aichberger
  • Marion Hasinger
  • Rudolf Braun
  • Andreas P. Loibner


Preliminary tests at different scales such as degradation experiments (laboratory) in shaking flasks, soil columns and lysimeters as well as in situ respiration tests (field) were performed with soil from two hydrocarbon contaminated sites. Tests have been evaluated in terms of their potential to provide information on feasibility, degradation rates and residual concentration of bioremediation in the vadose zone. Sample size, costs and duration increased with experimental scale in the order shaking flasks – soil columns – lysimeter – in situ respiration tests, only time demand of respiration tests was relatively low. First-order rate constants observed in degradation experiments exhibited significant differences between both, different experimental sizes and different soils. Rates were in line with type and history of contamination at the sites, but somewhat overestimated field rates particularly in small scale experiments. All laboratory experiments allowed an estimation of residual concentrations after remediation. In situ respiration tests were found to be an appropriate pre-testing and monitoring tool for bioventing although residual concentrations cannot be predicted from in situ respiration tests. Moreover, this method does not account for potential limitations that might hamper biodegradation in the longer term but only reflects the actual degradation potential when the test is performed.


biodegradation bioventing feasibility hydrocarbons limitations preliminary tests 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Aichberger
    • 1
  • Marion Hasinger
    • 1
  • Rudolf Braun
    • 1
  • Andreas P. Loibner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiotechnologyInstitute for AgrobiotechnologyTullnAustria

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