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Effect of redox conditions on MTBE biodegradation in surface water Sediments

Environmental Science and Technology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1021/es010794x

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Abstract

Microbial degradation of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) was observed in surface water-sediment microcosms under anaerobic conditions. The efficiency and products of anaerobic MTBE biodegradation were dependent on the predominant terminal electron-accepting conditions. In the presence of substantial methanogenic activity, MTBE biodegradation was nominal and involved reduction of MTBE to the toxic product, tert-butyl alcohol (TBA). In the absence of significant methanogenic activity, accumulation of [14C]TBA generally decreased, and mineralization of [U-14C]MTBE to 14CO2 generally increased as the oxidative potential of the predominant terminal electron acceptor increased in the order of SO4, Fe(III), Mn(IV) < NO3 < O2. Microbial mineralization of MTBE to CO2 under Mn(IV)or SO4-reducing conditions has not been reported previously. The results of this study indicate that microorganisms inhabiting the sediments of streams and lakes can degrade MTBE effectively under a range of anaerobic terminal electron-accepting conditions. Thus, anaerobic bed sediment microbial processes may provide a significant environmental sink for MTBE in surface water systems throughout the United States.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effect of redox conditions on MTBE biodegradation in surface water Sediments
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es010794x
Volume
35
Issue:
23
Year Published:
2001
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Science and Technology
First page:
4643
Last page:
4647
Number of Pages:
5