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J Environ Sci Health B. 2006;41(5):471-84.

Comparison of microbial pyrene and benzo[a]pyrene mineralization in liquid medium, soil slurry, and soil.

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Department of Ecology, Ecotoxicology, and Ecochemistry, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.


The microbial degradation of 14C-pyrene and 14C-benzo[a]pyrene by a bacterial mixed culture was studied within a mixture of the PAHs phenanthrene, anthracene, pyrene, fluoranthene, and benzo[a]pyrene as sole carbon source in the different culture systems: (i) liquid medium, (ii) soil slurry (surface and grinding influence), and (iii) soil. The fate of these two labeled compounds was followed in these systems with an emphasis on mineralization to carbon dioxide, extractability, and adsorption to humic materials and formation of unextractable residual. Mineralization showed the most obvious differences: soil slurries achieved the best results both concerning the extent of mineralization and the time required. The highest extent of pyrene mineralization (54% within 21 days) was observed in soil slurries; in liquid media, pyrene mineralization was slower, but reached approximately the same extent (54% in 150 days); in soils, mineralization reached only 36% of added pyrene after 160 days. Benzo[a]pyrene was mineralized in a mixture of PAHs in soil slurries to an extent of 34% within 70 days, whereas mineralization in liquid medium and soil occurred in the range of 5% (70 days). Mineralization of benzo[a]pyrene in sand slurries was lower compared to soil slurries (19% in sand slurries vs. 32% in soil slurries within 50 days).

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