Remediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminated soil through composting with fresh organic wastes
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Composting may enhance bioremediation of PAH-contaminated soils by providing organic substrates that stimulate the growth of potential microbial degraders. However, the influence of added organic matter (OM) together with the microbial activities on the dissipation of PAHs has not yet been fully assessed.
Materials and methods
An in-vessel composting-bioremediation experiment of a contaminated soil amended with fresh wastes was carried out. Four different experimental conditions were tested in triplicate during 60 days using laboratory-scale reactors: treatment S (100% soil), W (100% wastes), SW (soil/waste mixture), and SWB (soil/waste mixture with inoculation of degrading microorganisms).
Results and discussion
A dry mass loss of 35 ± 5% was observed in treatments with organic wastes during composting in all the treatments except treatment S. The dissipation of the 16 USEPA-listed PAHs was largely enhanced from no significant change to 50.5 ± 14.8% (for SW)/63.7 ± 10.0% (for SWB). More obvious dissipation was observed when fresh wastes were added at the beginning of composting to the contaminated soil, without significant difference between the inoculated and non-inoculated treatments. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiling showed that fungi and G-bacteria dominated at the beginning of experiment and were probably involved in PAH dissipation. Subsequently, greater relative abundances of G + bacteria were observed as PAH dissipation slowed down.
The results suggest that improving the composting process with optimal organic compositions may be a feasible remediation strategy in PAH-contaminated soils through stimulation of active microbial populations.
KeywordsComposting Contaminated soil PAHs Bioremediation Microbial communities PLFAs
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