Aerobic composting remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soil. Current and future perspectives.

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Journal Article
The Science of the total environment, 2021, 753, pp. 142250
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This article provides a comprehensive review on aerobic composting remediation of soil contaminated with total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs). The studies reviewed have demonstrated that composting technology can be applied to treat TPH contamination (as high as 380,000 mg kg-1) in clay, silt, and sandy soils successfully. Most of these studies reported more than 70% removal efficiency, with a maximum of 99%. During the composting process, the bacteria use TPHs as carbon and energy sources, whereas the fungi produce enzymes that can catalyze oxidation reactions of TPHs. The mutualistic and competitive interactions between the bacteria and fungi are believed to sustain a robust biodegradation system. The highest biodegradation rate is observed during the thermophilic phase. However, the presence of a diverse and dynamic microbial community ensures that TPH degradation occurs in the entire composting process. Initial concentration, soil type, soil/compost ratio, aeration rate, moisture content, C/N ratio, pH, and temperature affect the composting process and should be monitored and controlled to ensure successful degradation. Nevertheless, there is insufficient research on optimizing these operational parameters, especially for large-scale composting. Also, toxic and odorous gas emissions during degradation of TPHs, usually unaddressed, can be potential air pollution sources and need further insightful characterization and mitigation/control research.
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