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Effect of Activated Carbon Amendment on Bacterial Community Structure and Functions in a PAH Impacted Urban Soil

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paola MeynetORCiD, Professor Russell DavenportORCiD, Professor David WernerORCiD



We collected urban soil samples impacted by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a sorbent-based remediation field trial to address concerns about unwanted side-effects of 2% powdered (PAC) or granular (GAC) activated carbon amendment on soil microbiology and pollutant biodegradation. After three years, total microbial cell counts and respiration rates were highest in the GAC amended soil. The predominant bacterial community structure derived from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) shifted more strongly with time than in response to AC amendment. DGGE band sequencing revealed the presence of taxa with closest affiliations either to known PAH degraders, e.g. Rhodococcus jostii RHA-1, or taxa known to harbor PAH degraders, e.g. Rhodococcus erythropolis, in all soils. Quantification by real-time polymerase chain reaction yielded similar dioxygenases gene copy numbers in unamended, PAC-, or GAC-amended soil. PAH availability assessments in batch tests showed the greatest difference of 75% with and without biocide addition for unamended soil, while the lowest PAH availability overall was measured in PAC-amended, live soil. We conclude that AC had no detrimental effects on soil microbiology, AC-amended soils retained the potential to biodegrade PAHs, but the removal of available pollutants by biodegradation was most notable in unamended soil.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Meynet P, Hale SE, Davenport RJ, Cornelissen G, Breedveld GD, Werner D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science and Technology

Year: 2012

Volume: 46

Issue: 9

Pages: 5057-5066

Print publication date: 28/03/2012

Date deposited: 12/11/2012

ISSN (print): 0013-936X

ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/es2043905


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Funder referenceFunder name
192936Research Council of Norway
EP/F008473/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
EP/F012934/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
EP/I025782/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
EP/D079055/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)