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Composting of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in simulated municipal solid waste

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A laboratory-scale, batch-type, in-vessel composter was charged with simulated municipal solid waste deliberately contaminated with a mixture of 3- and 4-ringed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The extent of their biodegradation was monitored over a 2-month period (30 days of active composting and 30 days of compost curing) by use of soxhlet extraction and gas chromatography analysis. The results indicated that most of biodegradation occurred in the active composting phase and very little occurred during the curing phase of the composting process. Fluorene was too volatile for this type of bioremediation, and benz[a]anthracene was persistent in the compost throughout both phases of the experiment. Anthracene, phenanthrene, and pyrene showed excellent reduction in the actively composting phase, in contrast to their mercuric chloride–poisoned controls, indicating that biodegradation (not abiotic mechanisms) was the removal process from the composting mass.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143098X124993

Publication date: May 1, 1998

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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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