2000 Progress Report: A Contained Simulation of Field Application of Genetically Engineered Microorganisms (Gems) for the Bioremediation of PCB Contaminated Soils

EPA Grant Number: R825540C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825540
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (1989) - Great Lakes/Mid Atlantic HSRC
Center Director: Hunter, Ray
Title: A Contained Simulation of Field Application of Genetically Engineered Microorganisms (Gems) for the Bioremediation of PCB Contaminated Soils
Investigators: Tharakan, John , Liou, Raycharn , Martin, Edward , Quensen, John , Tiedje, James M. , Tsoi, Tamara V.
Institution: Howard University , Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period:    
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 1999 through September 30, 2000
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (1989) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Substance Research Centers , Land and Waste Management


Project goals include: i) undertaking the cometabolic biotransformation of PCBs in soil from contaminated sites using genetically engineered microbes; ii) design, construct and operate a tilled soil bioreactor (BTSR) to simulate in situ field bioremediation using inoculated organisms in a cycling anaerobic/aerobic bioprocess mode for the biodegradation of PCBs; iii) utilize results from previously funded GLMAC-HSRC projects (using bioaugmentation with various cosubstrates (J.Tharakan's laboratory) and on using engineered PCB congener degrading strains (J.Tiedje's laboratory) for a contained laboratory simulation of field use of these GEMs for PCB bioremediation; and, iv) investigate the biotransformation of the PCBs in contaminated site soil under sequential anaerobic and aerobic conditions in the BTSR.

Progress Summary:

Rationale: The rationale for this approach has been well established from our and other's previous studies. Several organisms isolated from PCB contaminated sites (C.testosteroni VP44 and R. erythroposis NY05) have been cultured in our laboratories in the presence of various cosubstrates (biphenyl, naphthalene, terpenes), and these organisms have demonstrated the biotransformation of various PCB congeners ranging from mono-chlorobiphenyl's to tetrachlororbiphenyl's. Some pentachlorobiphenyl's and one or two hexachlorobiphenyl's have demonstrated reductions in our cultures. These aerobic studies have been conducted in the aqueous phase, in soil-slurry bioreactors and in static packed soil columns. In all our studies, when the cultures have been conducted anaerobically and with the addition of anaerobic sediments from River Raisin, MI known to have some PCB contamination, the higher chlorinated congeners have been dechlorinated. We have also measured increases in the concentration of lower chlorinated congeners. In subsequent aerobic phases, the lower chlorinated congeners have been biodegraded by inoculated VP44 and NY05.

Thus the rationale is clear and the specific impact of these continuing studies at Howard University studies will reside in the demonstration of this application of GEMs in a contained laboratory simulation of actual field bioremediation of two different site soils heavily contaminated with PCBs.

Approach: The Tilled Soil Bioreactor concept and design have been shown and documented in prior reports and submissions. The bioreactor vessel chosen for containment of the GEMs studies is sealable with controllable headspace conditions. It is equipped with inlet and outlet ports for fluid delivery and withdrawal in a controlled and scalable manner. The bioreactor also has adequate sampling port access.

The general approach involves initial layering of a sandy drainage soil at the bottom of the bioreactor, followed by the contaminated site soil. An anaerobic sediment inoculum and FeSO4 will be added, if required. The soil is tilled and a layer of starch solution is mixed in to expedite the attainment of anaerobic conditions. The bioreactor is sealed and reduced anaerobic mineral medium (RAMM) is periodically pumped through the bioreactor via the fluid distributor. Anaerobic dechlorination is allowed to proceed for four months following which the fluid circuits are opened and aerated media inoculated with GEMs is pumped into the soil and GEMs impregnated vermiculite (J.Tiedje's results) is mixed into the contaminated soil via tilling.

At each point, samples are analyzed for PCB congeners concentrations by GC with electron capture detection (ECD).

Status: Samples will be obtained from the Gary, IN Ralston Street Lagoon for the next phase of testing.

Client/Users -Technology Transfer and Outreach: The primary tech transfer activity is expected to be the use of the GEM technology at an actual site, the Ralston Street Lagoon, is the testing at Howard is successful. The information to date had been submitted to the client and found to be adequate to support further exploration of the technology, including provision for additional funds.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 5 publications 2 publications in selected types All 1 journal articles
Other center views: All 7 publications 3 publications in selected types All 2 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Tharakan JP, Gordon JA. Cometabolic biotransformation of (TNT) supported by using aromatic and non-aromatic cosubstrates. Chemosphere 1999;38(6):1323-1330. R825540C004 (2000)
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-PDF
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Waste, Water, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Chemical Engineering, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, Treatment Technologies, Hazardous Waste, Bioremediation, Ecology and Ecosystems, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, sequestration, genetically engineered microorganisms, contaminant transport, in situ remediation, fate and transport , bioavailability, biodegradation, contaminated sediment, kinetic studies, contaminated soil, membrane processes, bioremediation of soils, contaminants in soil, groundwater remediation, in-situ bioremediation, PCB, contaminated groundwater, environmentally acceptable endpoints, hazardous organic compounds, bioacummulation, bioaccumulation, alternative endpoints, contaminated soils

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825540    HSRC (1989) - Great Lakes/Mid Atlantic HSRC

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825540C001 Development and Verification of A Molecular Modeling Approach for Predicting the Sequestration and Bioavailability/Biotoxicity Reduction of Organic Contaminants by Soils and Sediments
    R825540C002 Molecular Modeling of Hydrophobic Organic Contaminants Uptake and Sequestration by Soil Organic Matter
    R825540C003 The Use of Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration Membranes for the Separation, Recovery, and Reuse of Surfactant/Contaminant Solutions
    R825540C004 A Contained Simulation of Field Application of Genetically Engineered Microorganisms (Gems) for the Bioremediation of PCB Contaminated Soils