, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 433–442 | Cite as

Naphthalene, phenanthrene and surfactant biodegradation

  • Gang Chen
  • Keith A. Strevett
  • Br. Angela Vanegas


The impact of surfactants on naphthalene and phenanthrene biodegradation and vice versa after surfactant flushing were evaluated using two anionic surfactants: sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS); and two nonionic surfactants: POE (20) sorbitan monooleate (T-maz-80) and octylphenol poly(ethyleneoxy) ethanol (CA-620). Naphthalene and phenanthrene biodegradation varied differently in the presence of different surfactants. Naphthalene biodegradation was not impacted by the presence of SDS. In the presence of T-maz-80 and CA-620, naphthalene biodegradation occurred at a lower rate (0.14 d-1 for T-maz-80 and 0.19 d-1 for CA-620) as compared to un-amended control (0.29 d-1). Naphthalene biodegradation was inhibited by the presence of SDBS. In the presence of SDS, phenanthrene biodegradation occurred at a lower rate (0.10 d-1 as compared to un-amended control of 0.17 d-1) and the presence of SDBS, CA-620 and T-maz-80 inhibited phenanthrene biodegradation. The surfactants also responded differently to the presence of naphthalene and phenanthrene. In the presence of naphthalene, SDS biodegradation was inhibited; SDBS and T-maz-80 depleted at a lower rate (0.41d-1 and 0.12 d-1 as compared to 0.48 d-1 and 0.22 d-1). In the absence of naphthalene, CA-620 was not degradable, while in the presence of naphthalene, CA-620 began to degrade at a comparatively low rate (0.12 d-1). In the presence of phenanthrene, SDS biodegradation occurred at a lower rate (1.2 d-1 as compared to 1.68 d-1) and a similar trend was observed for T-maz-80. The depletion of SDBS and CA-620 did not change significantly. The choice of SDS for naphthalene-contaminated sites would not adversely affect the natural attenuation of naphthalene, in addition, naphthalene was preferentially utilized to SDS by naphthalene-acclimated microorganisms. Therefore, SDS was the best choice. T-maz-80 was also found to be usable in naphthalene-contaminated sites. For phenanthrene contaminated sites, SDS was the only choice.

biodegradation naphthalene octylphenol poly(ethyleneoxy) ethanol phenanthrene POE (20) sorbitan monooleate sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate sodium dodecyl sulfate surfactant 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gang Chen
    • 1
  • Keith A. Strevett
    • 1
  • Br. Angela Vanegas
    • 1
  1. 1.Bioenvironmental Engineering & Environmental Science Laboratory, School of Civil Engineering & Environmental ScienceUniversity of OklahomaUSA

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