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Biodegradation. 2006 Aug;17(4):293-302. Epub 2005 Oct 20.

Pyrene mineralization capacity increases with compost maturity.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, 2900 Edouard-Montpetit, P.O. Box 6079, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3A7, Canada.


Experiments were conducted to determine the effects of composting or simple addition of compost to the mineralization of n-hexadecane, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene in soil. Soil (contaminated or clean) was composted with maple leaves and alfalfa. Samples from different composting phases were spiked with radiolabeled and cold n-hexadecane, pyrene or benzo(a)pyrene, placed in aerated microcosms at different temperatures, and monitored for mineralization. It was determined that neither composting nor the addition of compost had any effect on n-alkane or benzo(a)pyrene mineralization. In contrast, the pyrene mineralization rate increased dramatically with the amount of time that soil had been composted. Highest pyrene mineralization rates and extents (more than 60% after 20 days) were obtained when pyrene was in contact with composted soil from the curing stage. Neither thermophiles (55 degrees C) nor fungi were responsible for pyrene mineralization.

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