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Environ Res. 2003 Nov;93(3):316-27.

HCH distribution and microbial parameters after liming of a heavily contaminated soil in Rio de Janeiro.

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biotecnologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The closing down of a lindane factory near Rio de Janeiro, over 45 years ago, left an area heavily contaminated with hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH). Remediation by soil liming was applied by government authorities in 1995. This study aims to evaluate the HCH distribution and impact on soil microbiota due to contamination and liming. Microcosm experiments with uncontaminated soil mixed with HCH and lime indicated that lime-promoted dechlorination of HCH molecules led to leaching and volatilization of metabolites. The treatment applied transformed but did not solve the problem as most of the HCH remains in the soil. Reduced microbial respiratory activity was measured in contaminated field samples. Higher respiration rates in uncontaminated soil were reduced by HCH and lime addition; the sole addition of HCH caused a temporary increase in soil respiration, and stimulation occurred with oxygen and/or nutrient addition. A heterotrophic bacterial population around 10(9)CFU/g was found in polluted field soil, some well-known degraders having been isolated. Native soil microbiota showed resistance to high amounts of HCH and alkaline pH. The results allow considering bioremediation rather than chemical treatments to clean up the area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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