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Biodegradation. 1999 Feb;10(1):15-25.

Anaerobic biodegradation of BTEX and gasoline in various aquatic sediments.

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  • 1Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, USA.


We examined the extent of biodegradation of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and the three isomers of xylene (BTEX) as a mixture and from gasoline in four different sediments: the New York/New Jersey Harbor estuary (polluted); Tuckerton, N.J. (pristine); Onondaga Lake, N.Y. (polluted) and Blue Mtn. Lake, N.Y. (pristine). Enrichment cultures were established with each sediment using denitrifying, sulfidogenic, methanogenic and iron reducing media, as well as site water. BTEX loss, as measured by GC-FID, was extensive in the sediments which had a long history of pollution, with all compounds being utilized within 21-91 days in the most active cultures, and was very slight or non-existent in the pristine sediments. Also, the pattern of loss was different under the various reducing conditions within each sediment and between sediments. For example benzene loss was only observed in sulfidogenic cultures from the NY/NJ Harbor sediments while toluene was degraded under all redox conditions. The loss of BTEX was correlated to the reduction of the various electron acceptors. In cultures amended with gasoline the degradation was much slower and incomplete. These results show that the fate of the different BTEX components in anoxic sediments is dependent on the prevailing redox conditions as well as on the characteristics and pollution history of the sediment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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