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Anaerobic removal of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) under different electron accepting conditions: laboratory study

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An attempt has been made to study the anaerobic removal of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) under different electron accepting conditions by a soil bacterial consortium. The results indicated that among the different electron acceptors studied (sulfate, nitrate, and carbon dioxide), significant TNT removal was observed under nitrate reducing conditions. When there was no electron acceptor in the medium, TNT was not removed even after 60 days of incubation. Under nitrate reducing conditions, 82% of TNT was removed from the original concentration of 100 ppm of TNT. Under sulfate reducing conditions, approximately 30% of TNT was removed. When carbon dioxide was used as electron acceptor and H2 as electron donor, TNT was removed by 35%. This result indicates that TNT could be removed under anaerobic conditions when there is appropriate and adequate electron acceptor present in the soil. TNT did not serve as an electron acceptor and TNT removal was apparently achieved by co-metabolism. The anaerobic reactions demonstrate that decontamination of TNT is possible under anaerobic conditions for TNT contaminated sites of soil and water, where aerobic treatment is not economically feasible.

Keywords: 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT); anaerobic process; biotransformation; decontamination; electron acceptors; electron donors; reduction process

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1993-05-01

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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