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Linking Catabolism to Cyclodextrin Extractability: Determination of the Microbial Availability of PAHs in Soil.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Number of pages7
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When assessing the potential of a contaminated site for bioremediation, it is desirable to know how much of the contaminant(s) is available for microbial degradation, thus allowing the likelihood of successful bioremediation to be predicted. The aims of this study were to investigate the degradation of PAHs in two soils by a catabolic inoculum and indigenous soil microflora and link this to the cyclodextrin extractable fraction in the presence of transformer oil (0.05, 0.01, or 0.005%). This study showed very little difference between indigenous and inoculum-derived degradation for phenanthrene in laboratory-aged soil, and strong relationships were also observed between both of the microbial degradative conditions and the amount of phenanthrene extracted by cyclodextrin. Furthermore, the indigenous degradation of PAHs in a field-contaminated soil showed significant linear correlations with the cyclodextrin extractable fraction, with gradients approximating to 1. There are several novel facets to this study. First, in aged, contaminated soils, indigenous microflora gave an equally sensitive determination of degradative availability as that measured by the catabolic inoculum. Second, this is the first time intrinsic biodegradation of PAHs has been predicted by the cyclodextrin extraction in laboratory-spiked and field-contaminated soils. The cyclodextrin extraction technique represents a powerful tool for predicting the extent of intrinsic and augmented microbial degradation and will be useful in the assessment of contaminated land prior to bioremediation.