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Environmental Effects of Using Chelating Agents in Polluted Sediment Remediation


The results of laboratory scale experimental tests of contaminant extraction from marine sediment slurries are presented and discussed. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of EDTA and rhamnolipid in copper removal from an artificially contaminated sediment. The comparison was made in terms of metal extraction yield, and in the evaluation of its mobilization towards the more exchangeable fractions in the sediment. Results show that, under acidic conditions established during washing, EDTA ensured higher extractions efficiencies of Cu (up to 95 %) than rhamnolipid, although there was less mobilization into bioavailable forms with the use of rhamnolipid. In addition, in the view of a biological treatment of the spent solution, the use of rhamnolipid resulted in a lower decrease of the specific oxygen uptake rate with respect to EDTA. In fact, the low surfactants concentration required, partially compensated the toxic effect of Cu towards biomass.

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This work has been partially supported by INAIL, Grant. B 01/DIPIA, Programme 2009-11 P2.

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Correspondence to Luca Di Palma.

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Di Palma, L., Petrucci, E. & Pietrangeli, B. Environmental Effects of Using Chelating Agents in Polluted Sediment Remediation. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 94, 340–344 (2015).

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  • Sediment remediation
  • Washing
  • Biosurfactants
  • Extractions
  • Metal complexes
  • Toxicity