An increasing interest in bioremediation of hydrocarbon polluted sites raises the question of the influence of seasonal and diurnal changes on soil-water temperature on biodegradation of BTEX, a widespread group of (sub)-surface contaminants. Therefore, we investigated the impact of a wide range of varying soil-water temperature on biodegradation of toluene under aerobic conditions. To see the seasonal impact of temperature, three sets of batch experiments were conducted at three different constant temperatures: 10°C, 21°C, and 30°C. These conditions were considered to represent (1) winter, (2) spring and/or autumn, and (3) summer seasons, respectively, at many polluted sites. Three additional sets of batch experiments were performed under fluctuating soil-water temperature cases (2110°C, 3021°C, and 1030°C) to mimic the day-night temperature patterns expected during the year. The batches were put at two different temperatures alternatively to represent the day (high-temperature) and night (low-temperature) times. The results of constant- and fluctuating-temperature experiments show that toluene degradation is strongly dependent on soil-water temperature level. An almost two-fold increase in toluene degradation time was observed for every 10°C decrease in temperature for constant-temperature cases. Under fluctuating-temperature conditions, toluene degraders were able to overcome the temperature stress and continued thriving during all considered weather scenarios. However, a slightly longer time was taken compared to the corresponding time at daily mean temperature conditions. The findings of this study are directly useful for bioremediation of hydrocarbon-polluted sites having significant diurnal and seasonal variations of soil-water temperature.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to acknowledge the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) for extending the financial support to this research as part of the SOWACOR Project. The authors are also thankful to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, for extending the financial aid in the form of the Ramanujan research award.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.