Final Report: In Situ Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and PAHs in Contaminated Salt Marsh Sediments

EPA Grant Number: R825511C010
Subproject: this is subproject number 010 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825511
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (1989) - Northeast HSRC
Center Director: Sidhu, Sukh S.
Title: In Situ Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and PAHs in Contaminated Salt Marsh Sediments
Investigators: Haggblom, Max , Kukor, Jerome J. , Zylstra, Gerben J.
Institution: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 19, 1999 through May 31, 2001
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (1989) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Substance Research Centers , Land and Waste Management

Objective:

Contamination of estuarine environments by toxic organic contaminants, such as petroleum hydrocarbons and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), resulting from industrial activities in New Jersey has become a significant environmental concern. The management of contaminated shorefront properties and sediments is a major problem facing the State and industries. The proposed study will examine the intrinsic biodegradation of contaminants in salt marshes of Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis. In particular, the work is examining the impact of rhizosphere microorganisms on biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons and PAHs, and evaluating the importance of plant-microbial associations. Wetlands may play an important function in remediation of contaminated sites and can potentially reduce the impact of contaminants. The project is developing methodologies for monitoring in situ bioremediation of contaminated sediments. Molecular probe methods are developed in order to track PAH-degradative activity in the rhizosphere as well as in the bulk sediment that will allow for quantitative real-time biomonitoring of degradative activity.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Rationale: The industrial activities in the New Jersey/New York harbor estuary has resulted in widespread contamination, and the management of contaminated sediments and shore front properties has become a serious problem. The study is examining how toxic organic contaminants are degraded in salt marshes of Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis. To evaluate the potential for intrinsic bioremediation it is important to monitor and verify that PAH-degrading bacteria are active, and the these processes actually are occurring in situ. Since the microorganisms involved in PAH degradation in salt marsh environments appear to be different and also harbor novel genes, specific molecular probes will have to be developed to monitor their activity.

Objectives and Approach: The overall objective of the study is to develop methods for monitoring intrinsic bioremediation of PAHs and other petroleum hydrocarbons in salt marsh environments. The microbial community structure in the rhizosphere of Spartina and Phragmites salt marshes will be characterized, and methodologies for monitoring intrinsic bioremediation in the field will be developed. A series of molecular probes are being developed to detect specific genes or a particular class of genes (distinctive of particular bacterial groups) in order to identify which PAH-degrading organisms are present and active at a particular site. These techniques will also allow the prediction of the range of PAHs that can be degraded at a particular site.

Specific objectives are to:
1. Characterize the microbial communities in the rhizosphere of Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis in contaminated salt marshes and isolate PAH-degrading bacteria.
2. Characterize the genes and pathways of selected PAH-degrading bacterial isolates.
3. Develop generic and specific PCR primers to detect particular classes of genes involved in PAH degradation of different bacteria.
4. Use molecular probes and chemical markers to assess the activity of the microbial community and identify which members of the community are involved in PAH degradation

Status: We have isolated numerous polyaromatic (PAH)-degrading bacteria, including the spore-forming Paenibacillus from the rhizospheres of Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis, common salt marsh grasses of mid-Atlantic estuaries. It appears that paenibacilli are abundant in tidal marshes and may be derived from marine waters, thus this genus is probably an important component of the PAH-degrading bacterial community present in tidal marshes. Probes for Southern hybridization based on classical PAH-dioxygenase sequences did not hybridize to any of the Paenibacillus spp. isolated, suggesting that the PAH-dioxygenases of these organisms may be unique. The dioxygenases of the Paenibacillus spp. are compared with characterized PAH-dioxygenases at the molecular, phylogenetic and biochemical levels and the information used to evaluate the relative importance of the Paenibacillus in the PAH-degrading bacterial community of salt marsh plant rhizospheres. The project is on target and will be completed June 30, 2001.

Technology Transfer and Outreach Plan: The project will develop methodologies for monitoring in situ bioremediation of contaminated sediments. A series of molecular probes will be developed to detect specific genes or a particular class of genes (distinctive of particular bacterial groups) in order to identify which PAH-degrading organisms are present and active at a particular site. These techniques will also allow the prediction of the range of PAHs that can be degraded at a particular site. Patent applications will be filed for specific strains and constructs. These molecular probes will enable tracking the PAH-degradative activity in the rhizosphere as well as in the bulk sediment that will allow for quantitative biomonitoring of intrinsic biodegradation.

Supplemental Keywords:

Biodegradation, PAH, Sediments, Remediation, Anaerobic Organisms., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Chemical Engineering, Remediation, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Hazardous Waste, Bioremediation, Ecology and Ecosystems, Environmental Engineering, Hazardous, environmental technology, sediment treatment, hazardous waste management, hazardous waste treatment, risk assessment, in situ remediation, decontamination of soil and water, soil and groundwater remediation, biodegradation, decontamination of soil, risk management, contaminated sediment, in situ degradation, salt marsh sediments, chemical contaminants, contaminated soil, bioremediation of soils, contaminants in soil, PAHs, biotransformation, technology transfer, extraction of metals, contaminated soils

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2000

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825511    HSRC (1989) - Northeast HSRC

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825511C001 Development of Mechanisms and Kinetic Models on Formation of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans from Aromatic Precursors
    R825511C002 Real-Time Monitoring and Control of Emissions from Stationary Combustors and Incinerators
    R825511C003 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    R825511C004 Investigation into the Effectiveness of DNAPL Remediation Strategies in Fractured Media
    R825511C005 Advanced Leak Detection and Location Research: Extending the SERDP-funded Technical Base
    R825511C006 Three-Dimensional Geostatistical Site Characterization with Updating
    R825511C007 Anaerobic Biodegradation of PAHs in Soils and Dredged Sediments: Characterizing, Monitoring and Promoting Remediation
    R825511C008 Substrate Accelerated Death and Extended Lag Phases as Causes of the Recalcitrance of Halogenated Compounds in Anoxic Environments
    R825511C009 Fate and Transport of Nonionic Surfactants
    R825511C010 In Situ Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and PAHs in Contaminated Salt Marsh Sediments
    R825511C011 Design and Operation of Surfactant-Enhanced Bioslurry Reactors
    R825511C012 Experimental Study of Overland Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts
    R825511C013 Development of a Framework for Evaluation of Leaching from Solid Waste
    R825511C014 Use of a New Leaching Test Framework for Evaluating Alternative Treatment Processes for Mercury Contaminated Mixed Waste (Hazardous and Radioactive)
    R825511C015 Field Pilot Test of In Situ Ultrasonic Enhancement Coupled With Soil Fracturing to Detoxify Contaminated Soil
    R825511C016 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    R825511C017 Field Demonstration of the Use of Reactive Zero-Valence Iron Powder to Treat Source Zone Sites Impacted by Halogenated Volatile Organic Chemicals
    R825511C018 Technology Transfer of Continuous Non-Methane Organic Carbon (C-NMOC) Analyzer
    R825511C019 Field Sampling and Treatability Study for In-Situ Remediation of PCB's and Leachable Lead with Iron Powder
    R825511C020 Experimental and Modeling Studies of Chlorocarbon Incineration, PIC Formation, and Emissions Control
    R825511C021 Experimental Studies and Numerical Modeling of Turbulent Combustion During Thermal Treatment of Hazardous Wastes: Applied Research for the Generation of Design and Diagnostic Tools
    R825511C022 Electrochemical Sensor for Heavy Metals in Groundwater - Phase IV
    R825511C023 Novel Molecular Tools for Monitoring In-Situ Bioremediation
    R825511C024 Surfactant-Enhanced Bioremediation of Soils in the Presence of an Organic Phase
    R825511C025 Enhanced Microbial Dechlorination of PCBs and Dioxins in Contaminated Dredge Spoils
    R825511C026 Toward A Risk-Based Model for Bioremediation of Multicomponent NAPL Contaminants
    R825511C027 Removal and Recovery of VOCs and Oils from Surfactant-Flushed Recovered Water by Membrane Permeation
    R825511C029 Field Pilot Test of In-Situ Ultrasonic Enhancement Coupled With Soil Fracturing to Detoxify Contaminated Soil in Cooperation with McLaren/Hart Environmental Engineers at the Hillsborough, NJ Site
    R825511C030 In-Situ Field Test of Electroremediation of a Chromate-Contaminated Site in Hudson County, New Jersey
    R825511C031 Electrokinetic Removal of Heavy Metals and Mixed Hazardous Wastes from Partially and Fully Saturated Soils
    R825511C032 Effects of Clay Charge and Confining Stresses on Soil Remediation by Electroosmosis
    R825511C033 Assessment of Surfactant Enhanced Bioremediation for Soils/Aquifers Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
    R825511C034 In-Situ Bioremediation of Organic Compounds: Coupling of Mass Transfer and Biodegradation
    R825511C035 Investigation into the Effectiveness of DNAPL Remediation Strategies in Fractured Media
    R825511C036 Field Pilot Scale Demonstration of Trench Bio-Sparge: An In-Situ Groundwater Treatment Technology
    R825511C037 In-Situ Reductive Dehalogenation of Aliphatic Compounds by Fermentative Heterotrophic Bacteria
    R825511C038 The Effect of Carbon-Nitrogen Ratios on Bacterial Transport and Biodegradation Rates In Soils
    R825511C039 Ultrasonic Enhancement of Soil Fracturing Technologies for In-Situ Detoxification of Contaminated Soil
    R825511C040 Full Field Demonstration of Integrated Pneumatic Fracturing and In-Situ Bioremediation
    R825511C041 Determination of Adsorption and Desorption Behavior of Petroleum Products on Soils
    R825511C042 Evaluation of the Potential for Complete Bioremediation of NAPL-Contaminated Soils Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
    R825511C043 Characterization of Subsurface NAPL Distributions at Heterogeneous Field Sites
    R825511C044 Development of a Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatograph/Microwave Induced Plasma/Mass Spectrometer (TDGC/MIP/MS) for On-site Analysis of Organic and Metal Contaminants
    R825511C045 Using Trainable Networks for a Three-dimensional Characterization of Subsurface Contamination
    R825511C046 Application of Advanced Waste Characterization to Soil Washing and Treatment
    R825511C047 Electrochemical Sensor for Heavy Metals in Groundwater Phase III
    R825511C048 Improved Luminescence Sensors for Oxygen Measurement
    R825511C049 Preconcentration, Speciation and Determination of Dissolved Heavy Metals in Natural Waters, using Ion Exchange and Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
    R825511C050 Experimental and Modeling Studies of Chlorocarbon Incineration and PIC Formation
    R825511C051 PIC Emission Minimization: Fundamentals and Applications
    R825511C052 Project Title: Development of a Two Stage, Pulse Combustion, VOC Destruction Technology
    R825511C053 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    R825511C054 FTIR Analysis of Gaseous Products from Hazardous Waste Combustion
    R825511C055 Toxic Metals Volatilization for Waste Separation and Real-time Metals Analyses
    R825511C056 Mixed Metal Removal and Recovery by Hollow Fiber Membrane-Based Extractive Adsorber
    R825511C057 Removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Contaminated Groundwater and Soils by Pervaporation
    R825511C058 Simultaneous SO2/NO Removal/Recovery by Hollow Fiber Membrane
    R825511C059 Superfund Sites and Mineral Industries Method
    R825511C060 Soil Washing of Mixed Organics/Metal Contamination
    R825511C061 Removal of Cesium, Strontium, Americium, Technetium and Plutonium from Radioactive Wastewater
    R825511C062 Development of a Method for Removal of Nonvolatile Organic Materials from Soil using Flotation
    R825511C063 Recovery of Evaporative Fuel Losses by Vapor Permeation Membranes
    R825511C064 Surfactant Selection Protocol for Ex Situ Soil Washing
    R825511C065 Biofiltration for the Control of Toxic Industrial VOCs Emissions
    R825511C066 Catalytic Oxidation of Volatile Organic Compounds in Water
    R825511C067 Soil Washing for Remediating Metal Contaminated Soils
    R825511C068 Aqueous Absorption and Kinetics of NO by Strong Oxidizing Agents
    R825511C069 Remediation of Dredging Spoils
    R825511C070 Freeze Concentration for Zero-Effluent Processes
    R825511C071 Life Cycle/Pollution Prevention Response to Executive Order 12856
    R825511C072 Faster Better, Cheaper Hazardous Waste Site Characterization and Cleanup: an Adaptive Sampling and Analysis Strategy Employing Dynamic Workplans
    R825511C073 Development of a Comprehensive Computer Model for the Pneumatic Fracturing Process
    R825511C074 Technology Demonstration and Validation of CFAST Field Analytical Instrumentation for Use in Hazardous Waste Site Characterization, Clean-up and Monitoring
    R825511C075 XFLOW: Training Software Simulating Contaminant Site Characterization and Remediation