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Assessing the feasibility of sequential aerobic respiration and heterotrophic denitrification of a high-strength mixture of phenol and its derivatives in the field single-well-drift test

Han, Kyungjin, Hong, Uijeon, Kim, Young-Wan, Kwon, Sooyoul, Kim, Young
Chemosphere 2020 v.239 pp. 124800
Pseudomonas stutzeri, aerobiosis, aquifers, bacteria, biodegradation, bioremediation, carbon dioxide production, coal tar, denitrification, denitrifying microorganisms, dissolved oxygen, distillates, groundwater, humans, nitrate nitrogen, nitrates, nitrites, nitrous oxide, nucleotide sequences, o-cresol, phenol, ribosomal RNA, sequence homology, toxicity
Biological degradation of high strength phenol and its derivatives in groundwater is problematic because these compounds are toxic to human and microbes. To evaluate the feasibility of in situ bioremediation using sequential aerobic respiration and heterotrophic denitrification, a field single-well-drift test (SWDT) was conducted in groundwater contaminated with coal tar distillates. To stimulate indigenous phenol degrading microorganisms, a 1400 L of oxygen-saturated test solution containing bromide (3.96 ± 0.179 mmol-Br/L) and nitrate (5.34 ± 0.187 mmol NO3−-N/L) was injected into an aquifer. After injection of the test solution, significant consumption of dissolved oxygen (DO) was immediately observed; then, degradation of the methyl derivatives o-cresol and m,p-cresol was observed with average zero-order rate coefficients of 0.047 mmol/L/d and 0.23 mmol/L/d, respectively. After 73% of the injected DO was consumed, significant NO3− consumption was observed along with degradation of phenol and the dimethyl derivatives 2,4-xylenol and 3,5-xylenol, which had average zero-order rate coefficients of 0.17 mmol/L/d, 0.060 mmol/L/d, and 0.018 mmol/L/d, respectively. The production of CO2, NO2−, and N2O along with significant consumption of DO and NO3− suggest that phenolic compounds were biologically degraded by sequential aerobic respiration and heterotrophic denitrification. The results of 16s RNA analysis revealed that, after injection of the test solution, a bacterium that shared a 99% 16s rRNA sequence similarity with an uncultured bacterium revealed to be Pseudomonas stutzeri, a facultative heterotrophic denitrifier, was found in the aquifer. Thus, these results suggest that simultaneous injection of DO and NO3− is an appropriate in situ bioremediation strategy for degrading mixtures of high-strength phenolic compounds in an aquifer.