Increased microbial catabolic activity in diesel contaminated soil following addition of earthworms (Dendrobaena veneta) and compost

ZA Hickman, BJ Reid

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36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study sought to assess the influence of compost and earthworms (Dendrobaena veneta) upon the level of hydrocarbon catabolism in petroleum contaminated forecourt soil (extractable petroleum hydrocarbons (EPH) 10 + 1.8 g kg-1 and total 16 United States Environment Protection Agency (USEPA) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) 1.62 ± 0.5 g kg-1). The catabolic activity of the indigenous microorganisms within uncombined materials (soil and compost) and within the combined treatments (soil plus compost; either with or without earthworms) was assessed by 14C-radiorespirometry (14C-hexadecane, 14C-toluene and 14C-phenanthrene). Maximum levels of catabolic activity were observed (at the end of the incubation period; 84 d) for all three compounds in the combined contaminated soil, compost and earthworm mixtures. Significant (p < 0.05) enhancement factors (relative to the soil only control) in catabolic activity in the combined treatments (soil:compost (1:0.5)) of 3.6 times, 1.5 times and 3.5 times were observed for 14C-hexadecane, 14C-phenanthrene and 14C-toluene, respectively; with maximum levels of catabolic activity for these substrates being 68.6 ± 1.7%, 37.9 ± 5.3% and 85.9 ± 1.3%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2970-2976
Number of pages7
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume40
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

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