Microbial dynamics in oil-impacted prairie soil
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A remote site in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (Osage County, OK) was contaminated with crude oil by a pipeline break in 1992. In 1996, the contaminated soil was bioremediated by blending with uncontaminated soil, prairie hay, buffalo manure, and commercial fertilizers, and spreading in a shallow layer over uncontaminated soil to create a landfarm. The landfarm was monitored for two years for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, soil gases indicative of microbial activity, and for changes in the concentration of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). Levels of hydrocarbon degraders and soil gas indicators of aerobic degradation were stimulated in the landfarm during the first warm season relative to uncontaminated prairie soil. However, these same indicators were less conclusive during the second warm season, indicating depletion of the more easily degradable hydrocarbons, although the landfarm still contained 6,800 mg/kg TPH on the average at the beginning of the second warm season. Methane formation and methanogen counts were clearly stimulated in the first warm season relative to uncontaminated prairie soil, in dicating that methanogenesis plays an important role in the mineralization of hydrocarbons even in these shallow soils.
Index EntriesCrude oil bioremediation TPH methanogenesis hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria
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