Biodegradation, Biotransformation, Bacteria, Oil spill, Kinetic model


Bioremediation of soil and groundwater sites contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons is known as a technically viable, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable technology. The purpose of this study is to investigate laboratory-scale bioremediation of petroleum-hydrocarbon contaminated soil through development of eight bioreactors, two bioreactors for each bioremediation mode. The modes were: (1)natural attenuation (NA); (2) biostimulation (BS) with oxygen and nutrients; (3) bioaugmentation (BA)with hydrocarbon degrading isolates; (4) a combination of biostimulation and bioaugmentation (BS-BA). Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) mass balance over the bioreactors showed about 2% of initial20,000 mg kg-soil−1TPH was removed by advection due to synthetic groundwater which was flow-ing through the soil, and the rest of decrease in TPH was caused by biodegradation. The BS-BA mode showed the highest TPH biodegradation percentage (89.7 ± 0.3%) compared to the NA (51.4 ± 0.6%), BS(81.9 ± 0.3%) and BA (62.9 ± 0.5%) modes. Furthermore, an increase in microbial population was another evidence of TPH biodegradation by microorganism. Reaction rate data from each bioremediation mode were fitted with a first-order reaction rate model. The Monod kinetic constants including maximum specific growth rate of microorganisms and substrate concentration at half-velocity constant (Ks)were estimated for each bioremediation modes.

Original Publication Citation

Safdari, M-S., M. Rahmati, F. Fazlollahi, T. H. Fletcher, and W. V. Wilding, “Development of Bioreactors for Comparative Study of Natural Attenuation, Biostimulation, and Bioaugmentation of Petroleum-hydrocarbon Contaminated Soil,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, 342, 270-278 (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2017.08.044

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Chemical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor