Author(s): Song HG, Bartha R
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Abstract Hydrocarbon residues, microbial numbers, and microbial activity were measured and correlated in loam soil contaminated by jet fuel spills resulting in 50 and 135 mg of hydrocarbon g of soil. Contaminated soil was incubated at 27 degrees C either as well-aerated surface soil or as poorly aerated subsurface soil. In the former case, the effects of bioremediation treatment on residues, microbial numbers, and microbial activity were also assessed. Hydrocarbon residues were measured by quantitative gas chromatography. Enumerations included direct counts of metabolically active bacteria, measurement of mycelial length, plate counts of aerobic heterotrophs, and most probable numbers of hydrocarbon degraders. Activity was assessed by fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis. Jet fuel disappeared much more rapidly from surface soil than it did from subsurface soil. In surface soil, microbial numbers and mycelial length were increased by 2 to 2.5 orders of magnitude as a result of jet fuel contamination alone and by 3 to 4 orders of magnitude as a result of the combination of jet fuel contamination and bioremediation. FDA hydrolysis was stimulated by jet fuel and bioremediation, but was inhibited by jet fuel alone. The latter was traced to an inhibition of the FDA assay by jet fuel biodegradation products. In subsurface soil, oxygen limitation strongly attenuated microbial responses to jet fuel. An increase in the most probable numbers of hydrocarbon degraders was accompanied by a decline in other aerobic heterotrophs, so that total plate counts changed little. The correlations between hydrocarbon residues, microbial numbers, and microbial activity help in elucidating microbial contributions to jet fuel elimination from soil.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation