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Effect of petrochemical sludge concentrations on changes in mutagenic activity during soil bioremediation process

Morelli, I.S., Vecchioli, G.I., Panno, M.T. del., Painceira, M.T.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2001 v.20 no.10 pp. 2179-2183
mutagenicity, soil pollution, bioremediation, application rate
The present study was performed to assess the effect of the petrochemical sludge application rate on the mutagenic activity (Ames test) of soil and the persistence of mutagenic activity during laboratory soil bioremediation process. Sludge soil systems were prepared at four different sludge application rates (1.25, 2.5, 5, and 10% w/w). Unamended soil was used as a control. Immediately following sludge application, in the absence or presence of S9, a linear correlation between sludge application rates and mutagenicity was found but differed significantly (p < 0.05) from the control system only at higher application rates (5 and 10% w/w). The direct mutagenicity of all systems decreases during the bioremediation process, and after a year of treatment only the 10% system induced a mutagenic response that was significantly different from the control system. On the other hand, an initial increase of the indirect mutagenicity was observed at all application rates. The time required for observing this increase was inversely proportional to the initial sludge concentration. After a year of treatment, the indirect mutagenicity of all sludge-amended soils was not significantly different but was significantly different from the unamended soils. The persistence of the direct mutagenic activity of the sludge-amended soils was related to the sludge concentration, whereas the indirect mutagenic persistence was related to the relationship between easily degradable hydrocarbons and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons concentration and independent from the initial application rate.