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Fate of Contaminants during Utilization of Peat Materials

Sheppard, S. C., Gibb, C. L., Hawkins, J. L.
Journal of environmental quality 1989 v.18 no.4 pp. 503-506
acid hydrolysis, burning, carbohydrates, chelates, environmental impact, fertilizers, foods, fulvic acids, fungal culture, groundwater, hydrolysates, lead, peat, peat soils, protein synthesis, pyrolysis, single cell protein
Since peat soils are used for a variety of industrial purposes, the fate of contaminants in peat is of interest for environmental impact studies. Peat soils effectively retain many contaminants and can receive contaminants from both the atmosphere and groundwater. We investigated the fate of I, Se, Cs, U, and Pb in peats subjected to treatments simulating commercial processes. The soils were contaminated with three concentrations of the study elements and incubated for 3 yr. Subsamples were subjected to static pyrolysis, extraction with base, acid hydrolysis, and extraction with chelates to represent burning of peat, humic and fulvic acid extraction as industrial materials, carbohydrate extraction for single-cell protein production, and application of chelate-based fertilizers. The results are presented as product concentration ratios and percent recoveries. In several cases, the contaminants were markedly concentrated. As an example, food products produced from fungal culture in peat hydrolysates may contain 50-fold higher U concentrations, on a dry wt. basis, than the original peat. Thus, contaminants are transferred to these products and this should be considered for environmental and human safety.