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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Sep;76(3):533-43. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Diffuse PAH contamination of surface soils: environmental occurrence, bioavailability, and microbial degradation.

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Department of Geochemistry, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Ă˜ster Voldgade 10, 1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark.


The purpose of this review is to recognize the scientific and environmental importance of diffuse pollution with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Diffuse PAH pollution of surface soil is characterized by large area extents, low PAH concentrations, and the lack of point sources. Urban and pristine topsoils receive a continuous input of pyrogenic PAHs, which induces a microbial potential for PAH degradation. The significance of this potential in relation to black carbon particles, PAH bioaccessibility, microbial PAH degradation, and the fate of diffuse PAHs in soil is discussed. Finally, the state-of-the-art methods for future investigations of the microbial degradation of diffuse PAH pollution are reviewed.

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