An exploratory study of peat and sawdust as enhancers in the (bio)degradation of n-dodecane
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Current practice for dealing with oil spills involves the use of adsorbent materials to contain the pollution prior to bioremediation of the contaminated soil and adsorbent. This work presents a study of the effects of bioavailable carbon sources in the adsorbents peat and sawdust as organic nutrients for microorganisms specialized in degrading n-dodecane in soil and sawdust contaminated with hydrocarbon mixtures. An experimental bioremediation system was developed using n-dodecane, biomass adapted to n-dodecane, inorganic nutrients and the two adsorbents (sterilized). Bioreactors containing peat enhanced cell growth the most and also evolved more CO2. An advantage of peat is that its soluble carbon sources can sustain higher cell densities compared to sawdust, and this may prove decisive when cultivating endogenous microorganisms for the aerobic bioremediation of soils contaminated with hydrocarbons. However, at the end of the 68-day experiment slightly higher n-dodecane removal was identified in the system containing sawdust-n-dodecane (99.6%) than in that with peat-n-dodecane (98.5%), evidencing the higher hydrocarbon retention capacity of peat. Based on this study, the use of sawdust instead of peat is recommended when an adapted inoculum is available for aerobic bioremediation of organic contaminants, whereas the use of peat is advisable to boost cell densities in order to improve the probability of sustaining a viable biomass in unfavorable conditions.
KeywordsAdsorbent Bioreactor Dodecane Mineralization Bioremediation
We wish to thank an anonymous referee who made clear several inaccuracies, biases and errors in an earlier version of this manuscript. Also, we wish to thank Sigdo Kopper Ecología for the funding of this study and Loreto Bravo for technical support.
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