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Humic Acid can Enhance the Mineralization of Phenanthrene Sorbed on Biochars

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David WernerORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Chemical Society, 2019.

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Biodegradation of hydrophobic organic contaminants by bacteria has been widely studied, but how dissolved organic matter (DOM) may affect their removal if accumulated on biochars is poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, microbial mineralization of phenanthrene (PHE) spiked on various biochars by Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1 in the presence of humic acid (HA, a model DOM) at two concentrations was investigated. Our findings showed that HA greatly increased the rate and extent of PHE mineralization. This could be attributed to enhanced PHE desorption by HA which facilitated access to it by bacteria in the aqueous phase. Furthermore, the high HA affinity for PHE facilitated PHE flow towards the bacterial cells with HA acting as a carrier in the aqueous phase. The mineralization enhancement of PHE by HA within 480 h was negatively influenced by the aromatic carbon contents and micropore volumes in biochars. This shows the importance of the physicochemical properties of biochars in altering the HA effect. Results of this study provide novel information on how to achieve complete removal of PHE accumulated on biochars with a strong sorption affinity for it, using a microbial technique and natural DOM.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zhang M, Shen X, Zhang H, Werner D, Wang B, Yang Y, Tao S, Wang X

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science & Technology

Year: 2019

Volume: 52

Issue: 22

Pages: 13201-13208

Print publication date: 19/11/2019

Online publication date: 28/10/2019

Acceptance date: 28/10/2019

Date deposited: 17/01/2020

ISSN (print): 0013-936X

ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b05147


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