Impact of electrical cable insulating oil on the mineralisation of [1-14C]glucose in soil

Brian J. Reid, Philip H. Lee, Christopher J. A. MacLeod, Alistair W. J. Morriss, Dax Patel, Kirk T. Semple

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Subsurface high voltage electric cables are commonly insulated using dodecylbenzene in combination with mineral oil. This work assessed the impact of increasing concentrations of cable insulating oil (0–10% dry weight) on soil microbial respiration as determined by mineralisation of [1-14C]glucose (11 µg C g-1 soil). Acute impact was assessed from 0 days to 21 days, and chronic impact was assessed after 300 days. This study found that cable insulating oil increased respiratory activity of soil microflora. The extent of impact was found to depend on both oil concentration and the length of oil–soil contact time. Following acute exposure (21-days oil–soil contact time), it was found that oil concentrations up to 1% promoted a significant (P0.05) increase in the extent of [1-14C]glucose mineralisation to 14CO2 relative to the control. Following chronic exposure (300-days oil–soil contact time), the extent of mineralisation was greater at all oil concentrations applied relative to the control. For oil concentrations up to and including 1%, there was a decrease in the extent of elevation in mineralisation relative to the values after 21-days exposure. At higher oil concentrations, namely 5% and 10%, the extent of elevation in mineralisation was comparable with that after 21-days oil–soil contact time. We suggest that the increase in mineralisation of glucose indicates that cable insulating oil is a readily available carbon source to the carbon-limited soil microflora.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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