Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 8779–8788 | Cite as

Evidence of non-DDD pathway in the anaerobic degradation of DDT in tropical soil

  • Fredrick Orori KengaraEmail author
  • Ulrike Doerfler
  • Gerhard Welzl
  • Jean Charles Munch
  • Reiner SchrollEmail author
Research Article


DDT transformation to DDD in soil is the most commonly reported pathway under anaerobic conditions. A few instances of DDT conversion to products other than DDD/DDE have been reported under aerobic conditions and hardly any under anaerobic conditions. In particular, few reports exist on the anaerobic degradation of DDT in African tropical soils, despite DDT contamination arising from obsolete pesticide stockpiles in the continent as well as new contamination from DDT use for mosquito and tsetse fly control. Moreover, the development of possible remediation strategies for contaminated sites demands adequate understanding of different soil processes and their effect on DDT persistence, hence necessitating the study. The aim of this work was to study the effect of simulated anaerobic conditions and slow-release carbon sources (compost) on the dissipation of DDT in two tropical clay soils (paddy soil and field soil) amenable to periodic flooding. The results showed faster DDT dissipation in the field soil but higher metabolite formation in the paddy soil. To explain this paradox, the levels of dissolved organic carbon and carbon mineralization (CH4 and CO2) were correlated with p,p-DDT and p,p-DDD concentrations. It was concluded that DDT underwent reductive degradation (DDD pathway) in the paddy soil and both reductive (DDD pathway) and oxidative degradation (non-DDD pathway) in the field soil.


Persistence Half-life Mineralization Dissipation Co-metabolism Electron acceptors 


Funding information

We are grateful to the Helmholtz Zentrum München for the consumables and facilities that were utilized in the study, the DAAD for the scholarship granted to facilitate the first author’s stay in Germany, the International Foundation for Science (IFS) for grant C/5248-1, and the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) for grant NCST/ST&I/RCD/2ND CALL/POST DOC/039, both of which provided funds for collection of soil samples and part of the work done in Kenya.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryMaseno UniversityMasenoKenya
  2. 2.Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH)Institute of Soil EcologyNeuherbergGermany
  3. 3.Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH)Institute of Developmental GeneticsNeuherbergGermany

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