Current models for predicting the environmental fate of munitions constituents (MC) in soils are based mostly on chemical distribution parameters and neglect the larger considerations of other soil parameters. We are working towards a new approach based on the whole soil activity for predicting the long-term residence time and fate of MC in soils with connection to agronomic soil fertility concepts. These relationships are demonstrated by correlating experiments involving full physical and chemical characterization of eight taxonomically distinct soils, with batch reactor studies determining MC degradation potential. Soils were incubated in a slurry for 10 days in a closed reactor system with temperature, pH, and Eh readings recorded every 24 h. Air and slurry samples were taken eight times within the 168 h incubation period. Carbon dioxide, TNT, and nutrient solution concentrations were assessed to obtain a full picture of soil chemistry changes associated with microbial activity in response to additions of TNT. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the main factors impacting degradation rate. Principle Components Analysis (PCA) statistically classified the soils based on the variance of their soil property data. Partial Least Squares Analysis (PLS) showed that TNT degradation was possibly correlated with soil fertility characteristics. Although this is an exploratory study, results show promise in moving towards a more effective way of predicting TNT environmental fate in soils.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





2, 4, 6-trinitrotoluene, explosives, biodegradation, soil contaminants, environmental quality, explosives, munition constituents, soil fertility, microbial activity