IWA Publishing

Ability of Beijerinckia indica to degrade phenanthrene and reduce hydraulic conductivity

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This study evaluates the ability of Beijerinckia indica (B. indica) as a biomaterial for aerobic biofilm barriers. B. indica's ability to remove phenanthrene was measured using a two-phase partitioning bioreactor. Approximately 500 mg/L of phenanthrene was gradually removed over a two week period under aerobic conditions of the bioreactor. B. indica's ability to reduce hydraulic conductivity was evaluated using rigid wall soil columns inoculated with the bacteria. B. indica formed a large quantity of strongly adhesive biofilm among soil particles, reducing the hydraulic conductivity in the soil columns by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude. To assess recovery of the biofilm, the formed biofilm was purposely destroyed by introducing landfill leachate into the soil columns. The biofilm recovery test showed that the hydraulic conductivity increased after leachate introduction. However, re-permeation of nutrient solution restored the permeability to its original lower value, which suggests a full recovery of the damaged biofilm. This study suggests that B. indica may be used as a possible biomaterial for aerobic biofilm barriers for the removal of phenanthrene from groundwater, provided that sufficient substrate and electron acceptor are provided to the treatment system.

Keywords: Beijerinckia indica, biofilm barriers, hydraulic conductivity, intrinsic permeability, rigid wall soil column, two-phase partitioning bioreactor

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