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Chemosphere. 2011 Apr;83(5):652-60. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.02.027. Epub 2011 Mar 5.

Influence of constant and fluctuating temperature on biodegradation rates of fish biodiesel blends contaminating Alaskan sand.

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  • 1University of Alabama, Department of Biology, Dauphin Island Sea Lab., 101 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528, USA.


Bioremediation of sandy soil contaminated with fish-biodiesel, conventional diesel, and blends of both was studied in microcosm experiments at different temperatures, simulating the subarctic environment. While distinct lag, exponential, and stationary phases were observed at 20°C, degradation at 6°C was slow and the lag phase continued throughout the 4-week experiment. A three-phase 1st order kinetic model successfully described respiration at 20°C, a one-phase model was sufficient at 6°C. For temperatures fluctuating between ∼6 and ∼20°C, higher than expected microbial activity persisted at 6°C for several days, due to the presence of active cultures, even though the soil temperature closely followed the air temperature. At 20°C, respiration peaked already after 1week, and 18-51% of the initially added fuel was mineralized within 4weeks, whereby degradation was higher at higher biodiesel percentages. Biodiesel addition accelerated mineralization of blends with regular diesel beyond expectations. In blends with 20% biodiesel, the degradation rate constant was twice as high as for conventional diesel. These synergistic effects are likely due to an active microbial population. Addition of biodiesel to conventional diesel could reduce the impact of diesel spills.

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