Bio-augmentation and nutrient amendment decrease concentration of mercury in contaminated soil

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2017, 576 pp. 303 - 309
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Four mercury (Hg) contaminated soils with different pH (7.6, 8.5, 4.2 and 7.02) and total organic carbon contents (2.1, 2.2, 4 and 0.9%) were subjected to bioremediation utilizing a Hg volatilizing bacterial strain Sphingobium SA2 and nutrient amendment. In a field with ~ 280 mg/kg Hg, 60% of Hg was removed by bio-augmentation in 7 days, and the removal was improved when nutrients were added. Whereas in artificially spiked soils, with ~ 100 mg/kg Hg, removal due to bio-augmentation was 33 to 48% in 14 days. In the field contaminated soil, nutrient amendment alone without bio-augmentation removed 50% of Hg in 28 days. Nutrient amendment also had an impact on Hg remediation in the spiked soils, but the best results were obtained when the strain and nutrients both were applied. The development of longer root lengths from lettuce and cucumber seeds grown in the remediated soils confirmed that the soil quality improved after bioremediation. This study clearly demonstrates the potential of Hg-reducing bacteria in remediation of Hg-contaminated soils. However, it is desirable to trap the volatilized Hg for enhanced bioremediation.
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