The efficiency of several chemical treatments as potential enhancers of the biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in contaminated soil was evaluated by analyzing the mineralization of 14C-labeled phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene. The effect of nonionic surfactants with Fenton oxidation and combinations of surfactants with the Fenton oxidation was evaluated in a microtiter plate assay. The surfactants selected for the study were Tween 80, Brij 35, Tergitol NP-10, and Triton X-100. The addition of Fenton's reagent significantly enhanced the mineralization of pyrene at the two concentrations studied: 2.8 M H2O2 with 0.1 M FeSO4 and 0.7 M H2O2 with 0.025 M FeSO4. Phenanthrene mineralization was also positively induced by the Fenton treatments. However, none of the treatments had a significant effect on benzo(a)pyrene mineralization. Surfactant additions at concentrations of 20% and 80% of the aqueous critical micelle concentration did not significantly affect the mineralization rates. When surfactant addition was combined with the Fenton oxidation, reduced mineralization rates were obtained when compared with mineralization after Fenton's treatment alone. The results indicate that the addition of Fenton's reagent may enhance the mineralization of PAHs in contaminated soil, whereas the addition of surfactants has no significant beneficial effect. The efficiency of the Fenton oxidation may decrease when surfactants are added simultaneously with Fenton's reagent to contaminated soil.
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