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Biodegradation of tetryl (2,4,6-trinitrophenylmethylnitramine) in a soil-slurry reactor

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A laboratory study was conducted to determine whether tetryl can be biodegraded by native soil bacteria under soil-slurry conditions with molasses as cosubstrate. A 2-L laboratory reactor was set up with a 15% (weight/volume) slurry of contaminated soil in deionized water. The soil slurry was mixed continuously at 80 r/min. Molasses at 0.3% (volume/volume) was added weekly as a cosubstrate. A no-carbon control reactor was also set up without molasses addition. The concentration of tetryl in the soil was monitored periodically. The results showed 100% removal of tetryl from the soil within 3 months of operation. In the no-carbon control, no significant degradation of tetryl was observed. The gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric analysis of the aqueous phase of the soil slurry showed metabolites identified as trinitro-n-methylaniline, trinitrobenzeneamine, dinitrobenzenediamine, nitroaniline, and aniline. None of these metabolites persisted more than a week after they appeared in the reactor system. The parameters relevant to biodegradation and process control, such as pH, dissolved oxygen, bacterial counts, and metabolites produced in the reactor, are discussed.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 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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