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Concept: Environmental remediation


Environmentally Degradable Parameter ((Ed)K) is of importance in the describing of biodegradability of environmentally biodegradable polymers (BDPs). In this study, a concept (Ed)K was introduced. A test procedure of using the ISO 14852 method and detecting the evolved carbon dioxide as an analytical parameter was developed, and the calculated (Ed)K was used as an indicator for the ultimate biodegradability of materials. Starch and polyethylene used as reference materials were defined as the (Ed)K values of 100 and 0, respectively. Natural soil samples were inoculated into bioreactors, followed by determining the rates of biodegradation of the reference materials and 15 commercial BDPs over a 2-week test period. Finally, a formula was deduced to calculate the value of (Ed)K for each material. The (Ed)K values of the tested materials have a positive correlation to their biodegradation rates in the simulated soil environment, and they indicated the relative biodegradation rate of each material among all the tested materials. Therefore, the (Ed)K was shown to be a reliable indicator for quantitatively evaluating the potential biodegradability of BDPs in the natural environment.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Environment, Natural environment, Environmental remediation, Biodegradation, Environmentalism, Bioremediation, Bioplastic


The contaminant concentrations over which type strains of the species Dehalogenimonas alkenigignens and Dehalogenimonas lykanthroporepellens were able to reductively dechlorinate 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA), 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP), and 1,1,2-trichloroethane (1,1,2-TCA) were evaluated. Although initially isolated from an environment with much lower halogenated solvent concentrations, D. alkenigignens IP3-3T was found to reductively dehalogenate chlorinated alkanes at concentrations comparable to D. lykanthroporepellens BL-DC-9T. Both species dechlorinated 1,2-DCA, 1,2-DCP, and 1,1,2-TCA present at initial concentrations at least as high as 8.7, 4.0, and 3.5 mM, respectively. The ability of Dehalogenimonas spp. to carry out anaerobic reductive dechlorination even in the presence of high concentrations of chlorinated aliphatic alkanes has important implications for remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater.

Concepts: Ethanol, Water pollution, Benzene, Environmental remediation, Solution, Hexane, Environmental chemistry, Pentane


Feasibility of soil washing to remediate Hg contaminated soil was studied. Dry sieving was performed to evaluate Hg distribution in soil particle size fractions. The influence of dissolved organic matter and chlorides on Hg dissolution was assessed by batch leaching tests. Mercury mobilization in the pH range of 3-11 was studied by pH-static titration. Results showed infeasibility of physical separation via dry sieving, as the least contaminated fraction exceeded the Swedish generic guideline value for Hg in soils. Soluble Hg did not correlate with dissolved organic carbon in the water leachate. The highest Hg dissolution was achieved at pH 5 and 11, reaching up to 0.3% of the total Hg. The pH adjustment was therefore not sufficient for the Hg removal to acceptable levels. Chlorides did not facilitate Hg mobilization under acidic pH either. Mercury was firmly bound in the studied soil thus soil washing might be insufficient method to treat the studied soil.

Concepts: Soil, Environmental remediation, PH, Particle size distribution, Water quality indicators, PH indicator, Organic matter, Environmental chemistry


The present research study investigates bioremediation potential of biostimulated microbial culture isolated from heavy metals waste disposal contaminated site located at Bhayander (east), Mumbai, India. The physicochemical and microbial characterization including heavy metal contaminants have been studied at waste disposal site. The microorganisms adapted at heavy metal-contaminated environment were isolated, cultured, and biostimulated in minimal salt medium under aerobic conditions in a designed and developed laboratory bioreactor. Heavy metals such as Fe, Cu, and Cd at a selected concentration of 25, 50, and 100 μg/ml were taken in bioreactor wherein biostimulated microbial culture was added for bioremediation of heavy metals under aerobic conditions. The remediation of heavy metals was studied at an interval of 24 h for a period of 21 days. The biostimulated microbial consortium has been found effective for remediation of Cd, Cu, and Fe at higher concentration, i.e., 100 mg/l up to 98.5%, 99.6%, and 100%, respectively. Fe being a micronutrient was remediated completely compared to Cu and Cd. During the bioaccumulation of heavy metals by microorganisms, environmental parameters such as pH, total alkalinity, electronic conductivity, biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, etc. were monitored and assessed. The pilot scale study would be applicable to remediate heavy metals from waste disposal contaminated site to clean up the environment.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Metal, Environmental remediation, Heavy metal music, Soil contamination, Tungsten


Thiodiglycol (TDG) is both the precursor for chemical synthesis of mustard gas and the product of mustard gas hydrolysis. TDG can also react with intermediates of mustard gas degradation to form more toxic and/or persistent aggregates, or reverse the pathway of mustard gas degradation. The persistence of TDG have been observed in soils and in the groundwater at sites contaminated by mustard gas 60 years ago. The biotransformation of TDG has been demonstrated in three soils not previously exposed to the chemical. TDG biotransformation occurred via the oxidative pathway with an optimum rate at pH 8.25. In contrast with bacteria isolated from historically contaminated soil, which could degrade TDG individually, a consortium of three bacterial strains isolated from the soil never contaminated by mustard gas was able to grow on TDG in minimal medium and in hydrolysate derived from an historical mustard gas bomb. Exposure to TDG had little impacts on the soil microbial physiology or on community structure. Therefore, the persistency of TDG in soils historically contaminated by mustard gas might be attributed to the toxicity of mustard gas to microorganisms and the impact to soil chemistry during the hydrolysis. TDG biodegradation may form part of a remediation strategy for mustard gas contaminated sites, and may be enhanced by pH adjustment and aeration.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Soil, Nitrogen, Environmental remediation, Microorganism, Bioremediation, Chemical Weapons Convention


The persistence of chemicals is a key parameter for their environmental risk assessment. Extrapolating their biodegradability potential in aqueous systems to soil systems would improve the environmental impact assessment. This study compares the fate of (14/13)C-labelled 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and ibuprofen in OECD tests 301 (ready biodegradability in aqueous systems) and 307 (soil). 85% of 2,4-D and 68% of ibuprofen were mineralised in aqueous systems, indicating ready biodegradability, but only 57% and 45% in soil. Parent compounds and metabolites decreased to <2% of the spiked amounts in both systems. In soil, 36% of 2,4-D and 30% of ibuprofen were bound in non-extractable residues (NER). NER formation in the abiotic controls was half as high as in the biotic treatments. However, mineralisation, biodegradation and abiotic residue formation are competing processes. Assuming the same extent of abiotic NER formation in abiotic and biotic systems may therefore overestimate the abiotic contribution in the biotic systems. Mineralisation was described by a logistic model for the aquatic systems and by a two-pool first order degradation model for the soil systems. This agrees with the different abundance of microorganisms in the two systems, but precludes direct comparison of the fitted parameters. Nevertheless, the maximum mineralisable amounts determined by the models were similar in both systems, although the maximum mineralisation rate was about 3.5 times higher in the aqueous systems than in the soil system for both compounds; these parameters may thus be extrapolated from aqueous to soil systems. However, the maximum mineralisable amount is calculated by extrapolation to infinite times and includes intermediately formed biomass derived from the labelled carbon. The amount of labelled carbon within microbial biomass residues is higher in the soil system, resulting in lower degradation rates. Further evaluation of these relationships requires comparison data on more chemicals and from different soils.

Concepts: Evaluation, Soil, Environmental remediation, C, Bioremediation, Impact assessment, Extrapolation, Environmental impact assessment


The effect of oil-swollen micelles formed with nonionic surfactant polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate (Tween 80), cosurfactant 1-pentanol, and linseed oil on the solubilization and desorption of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) including DDT and γ-HCH from both loam soil and clay soil were investigated. Results showed that the solubilizing capacities of oil-swollen micelles were dependent on the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of Tween 80. Once the concentrations of oil-swollen micelles exceeded the CMC of Tween 80, the oil-swollen micelles exhibited much higher solubilizing capacity than empty Tween 80 micelles for the two OCPs. Desorption tests revealed that oil-swollen micelles could successfully enhance desorption of OCPs from both loam soil and clay soil. However, compared with the efficiencies achieved by empty Tween 80 micelles, oil-swollen micelles exhibited their superiority to desorb OCPs only in loam soil-water system while was less effective in clay soil-water system. Distribution of Tween 80, 1-pentanol and linseed oil in soil-water system revealed that the difference in the sorption behavior of linseed oil onto the two soils is responsible for the different effects of oil-swollen micelles on the desorption of OCPs in loam soil and clay soil systems. Therefore, oil-swollen micelles formed with nonionic surfactant Tween 80 are better candidates over empty micelle counterparts to desorb OCPs from soil with relatively lower sorption capacity for oil fraction, which may consequently enhance the availability of OCPs in soil environment during remediation processes of contaminated soil.

Concepts: Adsorption, Environmental remediation, Surfactant, Micelle, Pesticide, Soil contamination, Critical micelle concentration, Linseed oil


Bimetallic iron nanoparticles have mostly been applied to the degradation of chlorinated compounds in the aqueous phase. In this study, the degradation of pentachlorophenol (PCP) spiked into sandy soil is considered as a first exploratory step for remediating PCP in real contaminated soil using a commercial preparation of bimetallic iron (Trade name BioCAT). After 21 days of treatment a PCP removal efficiency of 90% was achieved, along with 70% dechlorination efficiency, for a dosage of 600mg BioCAT slurry/kg soil. Degradation of PCP by BioCAT follows first order kinetics in PCP. Stepwise dechlorination is the main pathway of PCP elimination from soil slurries contacted with BioCAT. Such dechlorination is confirmed by the appearance of intermediate products, as well as by release of chlorides. Additionally, the increasing pH value and the rapid decrease of the oxidation/reduction potential (ORP) also attest to the reductive dechlorination of PCP. The reaction products comprehend lower chlorinated phenols, including three TeCP isomers, four TrCP isomers, four DCP isomers, two MCP isomers and phenol. These findings indicate that BioCAT could be applied for field treatment of PCP-contaminated soil under ambient conditions.

Concepts: Enzyme, Water, Environmental remediation, Acid dissociation constant, Phenols, Hydrochloric acid, Anthocyanin, Environmental chemistry


The abandoned Pb-As Baccu Locci mine represents the first and only case of mine site remediation in Sardinia, Italy. Arsenic is the most relevant environmental concern in the Baccu Locci stream watershed, with concentrations in surface waters up to and sometimes over 1 mg/L. The main remediation action consisted in creation of a “storage site”, for the collection of contaminated materials from different waste-rock dumps and most of tailings piles occurring along the Baccu Locci stream. This paper reports preliminary results on the level of contamination in the Baccu Locci stream after the completion of remediation measures. Post-remediation stream water chemistry has not substantially changed compared to the pre-remediation situation. In particular, dissolved As maintains an increasing trend along the Baccu Locci stream, with a concentration of about 400 μg/L measured at a distance of 7 km from the storage site. Future monitoring will provide fundamental information on the effectiveness of remediation actions conducted and their applicability to other mine sites in Sardinia. At the stage of mine site characterisation of future remediation plans, it is recommended to pay more attention to the understanding of mineralogical and geochemical processes responsible for pollution. Moreover, mixing of materials with different composition and reactivity in a storage site should require careful consideration and long-term leaching tests.

Concepts: Water, Concentration, Chemistry, Environmental remediation, Materials science, Stream, The Stage


The toxicity characteristics leaching procedure (TCLP) is commonly used to assess the efficiency of solidification/stabilization (S/S) of pollutants in wastes, despite recent objections to this method. In this study, formulations of 7, 10, 15 and 20% (w/w) of calcium aluminate cement (CAC) and sulfate resistant Portland cement (SRC) were used for S/S of soil from brownfield contaminated with 43,149, 10,115, 7631, 6130, 90, 82mgkg(-1) of Zn, Pb, Cu, As, Cd and Ni, respectively. CAC produced S/S soil monoliths of higher mechanical strength (up to 7.65Nmm(-2)). Mass-transfer analysis indicated surface wash-off as a mechanism of toxic elements release, and equilibrium leaching as a crucial parameter of S/S efficiency assessment. In the expected range of field soil pH after S/S (pH 7-9), the TCLP gave markedly different results than the multi-point pH equilibrium leaching method (using nine targeted pH values): up to 2953-, 94-, 483-, 1.3-, 27- and 1.5-times more Zn, Pb, Cu, As, Cd and Ni, respectively, was determined in the TCLP leachate. S/S with CAC reduced leachability of toxic elements more effectively than SRC. Our results indicate that, under given field conditions, the TCLP significantly underrates the efficiency of S/S of contaminated soil with cementitious binders.

Concepts: Environmental remediation, PH, Soil contamination, Fly ash, Portland cement, Cement, Concrete, Calcium aluminate cements