Author(s): Nievas ML, Commendatore MG, Esteves JL, Bucal V
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Abstract The biodegradation of a hazardous waste (bilge waste), a fuel oil-type complex residue from normal ship operations, was studied in a batch bioreactor using a microbial consortium in seawater medium. Experiments with initial concentrations of 0.18 and 0.53\% (v/v) of bilge waste were carried out. In order to study the biodegradation kinetics, the mass of n-alkanes, resolved hydrocarbons and unresolved complex mixture (UCM) hydrocarbons were assessed by gas chromatography (GC). Emulsification was detected in both experiments, possibly linked to the n-alkanes depletion, with differences in emulsification start times and extents according to the initial hydrocarbon concentration. Both facts influenced the hydrocarbon biodegradation kinetics. A sequential biodegradation of n-alkanes and UMC was found for the higher hydrocarbon content. Being the former growth associated, while UCM biodegradation was a non-growing process showing enzymatic-type biodegradation kinetics. For the lower hydrocarbon concentration, simultaneous biodegradation of n-alkanes and UMC were found before emulsification. Nevertheless, certain UCM biodegradation was observed after the medium emulsification. According to the observed kinetics, three main types of hydrocarbons (n-alkanes, biodegradable UCM and recalcitrant UCM) were found adequate to represent the multicomponent substrate (bilge waste) for future modelling of the biodegradation process.
This article was published in J Hazard Mater
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology