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Journal of Environmental Management
Vol. 180, 2016, Pages: 197–201

The effect of soil type on the bioremediation of petroleum contaminated soils

Ali Haghollahi, Mohammad Hassan Fazaelipoor, Mahin Schaffie

Mineral Industries Research Center, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran.


In this research the bioremediation of four different types of contaminated soils was monitored as a function of time and moisture content. The soils were categorized as sandy soil containing 100% sand (type I), clay soil containing more than 95% clay (type II), coarse grained soil containing 68% gravel and 32% sand (type III), and coarse grained with high clay content containing 40% gravel, 20% sand, and 40% clay (type IV). The initially clean soils were contaminated with gasoil to the concentration of 100 g/kg, and left on the floor for the evaporation of light hydrocarbons. A full factorial experimental design with soil type (four levels), and moisture content (10 and 20%) as the factors was employed. The soils were inoculated with petroleum degrading microorganisms. Soil samples were taken on days 90, 180, and 270, and the residual total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) was extracted using soxhlet apparatus. The moisture content of the soils was kept almost constant during the process by intermittent addition of water. The results showed that the efficiency of bioremediation was affected significantly by the soil type (Pvalue < 0.05). The removal percentage was the highest (70%) for the sandy soil with the initial TPH content of 69.62 g/kg, and the lowest for the clay soil (23.5%) with the initial TPH content of 69.70 g/kg. The effect of moisture content on bioremediation was not statistically significant for the investigated levels. The removal percentage in the clay soil was improved to 57% (within a month) in a separate experiment by more frequent mixing of the soil, indicating low availability of oxygen as a reason for low degradation of hydrocarbons in the clay soil.

Keywords: Total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH); Bioremediation; Moisture; Soil type; Sandy soil; Clay soil.

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