Assessing biodegraation potential of PAHs in complex multi-contaminant matrices

Zachary A. Hickman, Annika L. Swindell, Ian J. Allan, Angela H. Rhodes, Rina Hare, Kirk T. Semple, Brian J. Reid

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33 Citations (Scopus)


This study sought to extend validation of a cyclodextrin based extraction method for the assessment of PAH-biodegradation potential to complex multi-contaminant matrices. To this end, four reference materials (RMs) were produced by blending, in different proportions, soils impacted with diesel, lubricating oil and spent oxide. These reference materials had modest ?PAH (16 US EPA) concentrations that ranged from 5.6 ± 0.5 to 44.4 ± 4.5 mg kg-1. However, extractable petroleum hydrocarbon (EPH) concentrations were comparatively high (up to 2520 ± 204 mg kg-1). To complement these RMs, two further soils from a municipal gas plant (MGP) with highly elevated concentration of PAHs ranging from 877 ± 52 to 2620 ± 344 mg kg-1 were also tested. Results showed, regardless of matrix complexity, that PAH biodegradation within the four RM substrates, and two MGP soils correlated well with biodegradation predicted by hydroxypropyl-ß-cyclodextrin (HPCD) extraction. PAH biodegradation in complex media predicted using HPCD solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1045
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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