The effect of concentrations and properties of phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene on desorption in contaminated soil aged for 1 year
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Purpose: The choice and timing of microorganisms added to soils for bioremediation is affected by the dominant bioavailable contaminants in the soil. However, changes to the concentration of bioavailable PAHs in soil are not clear, especially when several PAHs coexist. This study investigated the effects of PAH concentration and chemical properties on desorption in meadow brown soil after a 1-year aging period, which could reflect changes of PAH bioavailability during bioremediation. Materials and methods: Based on the percentage of different molecular weights in a field investigation, high-level contaminated soil (HCS) and low-level contaminated soil (LCS) were prepared by adding phenanthrene (PHE), pyrene (PYR) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) to uncontaminated meadow brown soil. The concentrations of HCS and LCS were 250 mg kg-1 (PHE, PYR, and BaP: 100, 100, and 50 mg kg-1) and 50 mg kg-1 (PHE, PYR, and BaP: 20, 20, and 10 mg kg-1) respectively. The soils were aged for 1 year, after which desorption was induced by means of a XAD-2 adsorption technique over a 96-h period. Results and discussion: The range of the rapidly desorbing fraction (Frap) for PHE, PYR, and BaP in HCS and LCS was from 1. 9 to 27. 8 %. In HCS, desorption of PYR was most difficult, and the rate constant of very slow desorption (Kvs) of PYR was 8 orders of magnitude lower than that of BaP, which had similar very slow desorbing fractions (49. 8 and 50. 5 %, respectively). However, in LCS, desorption of PYR was the easiest; the Kvs of PYR was 8-10 orders of magnitude higher than those of PHE and BaP. In HCS, the time scale for release of 50 % of the PAHs was ranked as BaP & PYR & PHE, while in LCS this was BaP & PHE & PYR. Conclusions: The combined effect of PAH concentrations and properties should be taken into account during desorption. The desorption of PAH did not always decrease with increasing molecular weight, and the desorption of four-ring PAHs might be special. These results are useful for screening biodegrading microbes and determining when they should be added to soils based on the dominant contaminants present during different periods, thus improving the efficiency of soil bioremediation. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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