Exploration of Biodegration Methods for Hexahydro-1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazine (RDX)

EPA Grant Number: F6P20594
Title: Exploration of Biodegration Methods for Hexahydro-1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazine (RDX)
Investigators: Coley, Bianca M
Institution: Spelman College
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: May 30, 2006 through February 29, 2008
Project Amount: $41,500
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Undergraduate Environmental Study (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


This research project will attempt to identify a method to biodegrade hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX). RDX is used as a military explosive and in civilian demolition. These explosives, located at military bases, can leach into the soil and groundwater if conditions permit. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the possible issue of petrochemicals contaminating water could arise because of the ammunition storages located near the areas affected by the hurricanes. It is important to have a method to biodegrade RDX to enable protection of human health. CDC indicates that RDX can cause nausea, vomiting and seizures. By using preliminary gas chromatography mass spectrometry analyses we found that RDX was not degraded over time. Our experiments test for the possible breakdown in anaerobic conditions followed by aerobic conditions. Results will be presented at Spelman College Annual Research Day and at the Safe Water Conference.

Supplemental Keywords:

Scientific Discipline, Waste, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Environmental Chemistry, Treatment Technologies, Environmental Microbiology, Bioremediation, contaminated sediments, RDX, aerobic degradation, biodegradation, aerobic cometabolism, ammunnition storage and leaching, contaminants in soil, bioremediation of soils

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • Final