Screening tests for assessing the anaerobic biodegradation of pollutant chemicals in subsurface environments

Journal of Microbiological Methods
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Abstract

Screening methods were developed to assess the susceptibility of ground water contaminants to anaerobic biodegradation. One method was an extrapolation of a procedure previously used to measure biodegradation activity in dilute sewage sludge. Aquifer solids and ground water with no additional nutritive media were incubated anaerobically in 160-ml serum bottles containing 250 mg·l−1 carbon of the substrate of interest. This method relied on the detection of gas pressure or methane production in substrateamended microcosms relative to background controls. Other screening procedures involved the consumption of stoichiometrically required amounts of sulfate or nitrate from the same type of incubations. Close agreement was obtained between the measured and calculated amounts of substrate bioconversion based on the measured biogas pressure in methanogenic microcosms. Storage of the microcosms for up to 6 months did not adversely influence the onset or rate of benzoic acid mineralization. The lower detection limits of the methanogenic assay were found to be a function of the size of the microcosm headspace, the mean oxidation state of the substrate carbon, and the method used to correct for background temperature fluctuations. Using these simple screening procedures, biodegradation information of regulatory interest could be generated, including, (i) the length of the adaptation period, (ii) the rate of substrate decay and (iii) the completeness of the bioconversion.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Screening tests for assessing the anaerobic biodegradation of pollutant chemicals in subsurface environments
Series title Journal of Microbiological Methods
DOI 10.1016/0167-7012(94)00054-B
Volume 21
Issue 3
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 15 p.
First page 267
Last page 281