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Sequential Anaerobic-aerobic Biodegradation Of PCBs In Soil Slurry Microcosms

B. S. Evans, C. A. Dudley, K. Klasson
Published 1996 ·

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Many industrial locations have identified the need for treatment of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes and remediation of PCB-contaminated sites. Biodegradation of PCBs is a potentially effective technology for treatment of PCB-contaminated soils and sludges; however, a practicable remediation technology has not yet been demonstrated. In laboratory experiments, soil slurry microcosms inoculated with microorganisms extracted from PCB-contaminated Hudson River sediments have been used for anaerobic dechlorination of weathered Aroclor 1248 in contaminated soil with a low organic carbon content. Anaerobic incubation was then followed by exposure to air, addition of biphenyl, and inoculation withPseudomonas sp. LB400, an aerobic PCB degrader. The sequential anaerobic-aerobic treatment constituted an improvement compared to anaerobic or aerobic treatment alone by reducing the total amount of PCBs remaining and decreasing the tendency for end products to accumulate in humans. A 70% reduction of PCBs was observed during sequential treatment with products containing fewer chlorines and having a shorter half-life in humans than the original PCBs. The aerobic treatment alone was also quite effective as a stand-alone treatment reducing the PCBs by 67%. The results represent a case in which anaerobic river sediment organisms have been successfully transferred to a matrix free of river or lake sediments.



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