Measurement of Hydrocarbon Bioavailability in Soil

  • Gabriela M. Vázquez-Cuevas
  • Kirk T. SempleEmail author
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Bioavailability is recognised as being important in the study of biodegradation and ecotoxicity of organic contaminants in soils and sediments. The bioavailability of organic contaminants is controlled by biological, chemical and physical interactions and, as a result, will differ between soil types and biota. Over the last 30 years, numerous investigations have been carried out to quantify chemical bioavailability in soil. Much of this research has focussed on using microbial degradation as a measure of bioavailability as well as chemical assessments, with numerous methods published. Chemical methods described in this chapter rely on the extraction of hydrocarbons using aqueous solutions of cyclodextrin, which have been shown to provide a robust and reproducible measurement of the amount of hydrocarbon that is biodegradable when compared with biological approaches also described in this chapter. Clearly, a simple aqueous extraction that predicts the microbial degradable fraction of hydrocarbons will prove to be useful in the assessment of contaminated land by offering a predictive measure of amount of a contaminant(s) that may be removed before embarking on full-scale bioremediation.


Bioavailability Bioremediation HPCD Hydrocarbons Mineralisation PAHs 



The first author acknowledges the financial support from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) through a scholarship (No. 313807) to pursue postgraduate studies at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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