Results from a series of studies of methanogenic processes in crude oil- and creosote-contaminated aquifers indicated that acetoctastic methanogenesis is inhibited near non-aqueous sources. Acetoclastic methanogenesis was more susceptible to the toxic inhibition of crude oil and creosote than either hydrogen- or formate-utilizing methanogenesis. The effect of this toxic inhibition was apparent in the population of the methanogenic trophic groups near nonaqueous crude oil at the Bemidji, MN, site. At that site, acetoclastic methanogens were < 2/g within or near the oil where hydrogen- and formate-utilizing methanogens were 10-100/g. The geochemical effect of this toxic inhibition was the buildup of low molecular weight volatile acids, particularly acetate. Wastewater reactor studies indicated that this toxicity will result in a decrease in the biodegradation rate of contaminants at sites where toxic compounds are present.
Additional publication details
Inhibition of acetoclastic methanogenesis in crude oil- and creosote-contaminated groundwater