Main content area

Natural and assisted dissipation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a long-term co-contaminated soil with creosote and potentially toxic elements

Madrid, F., Rubio-Bellido, M., Villaverde, J., Peña, A., Morillo, E.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.660 pp. 705-714
Vibrio fischeri, acute toxicity, bacteria, bioavailability, bioremediation, creosote, phenanthrenes, polluted soils, rhamnolipids, toxic substances, toxicity testing
An enhanced bioremediation strategy was applied to an industrial soil co-contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTEs). Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPBCD) and a natural mixture of two rhamnolipids (RL) were added to increase PAHs bioavailability, and combined with a microbial consortium (MC) to biodegrade soil PAHs. Bioavailability of only six PAHs (3-, 4-ring PAHs) increased when using HPBCD, with a maximum increase about 2.8-fold higher. The highest dose of HPBCD (5%) enhanced PAH degradation, with the best results for 4-ring PAHs with treatments of HPBCD + MC (up to 48% degradation for pyrene and 43% for fluoranthene), whereas dissipation for 5-ring PAHs was very low and for 6-ring was negligible. The use of RL increased the bioavailability of 13 of the 16 PAHs studied, reaching up to 60-fold higher values for phenanthrene or 18-fold higher for acenaphtene. RL addition did not show degradation improvement in any situation, and even inhibited the scarce degradation observed in the control treatment. The high increase in availability of both PAHs and mainly PTEs when using RL as amendment could make them toxic for microorganisms. In fact, Microtox Acute Toxicity test using Aliivibrio fischeri and the absence of colony forming units (CFUs) of indigenous bacteria demonstrated the extremely high levels of toxicity in RL treated soil.