Water quality for human, agricultural and environmental uses can be impacted by contaminants from many different sources. Groundwater is a critical resource needed for drinking water, irrigation and environmental sustainability and is being overexploited and undervalued. In New Jersey it provides almost 50% of the water supply of the state. One of the major concerns for groundwater quality is contamination by organic solvents and petroleum components. These come from leaking underground storage tanks found under gas stations and industrial areas, legal and illegal waste disposal as well as non-point and point source contamination. Removal or clean-up of the contaminants from groundwater resources include engineered solutions (pump and treat and reinjection) as well as bioremediation solutions whereby we take advantage of the naturally occurring microorganisms to biodegrade the organic contaminants. By advancing the research in biodegradation, we can expand our understanding of the microorganisms, their physiology, genetics and the biochemical mechanisms of degradation for many organic compounds of interest (including benzene, toluene, xylenes, naphthalene, phenanthrene, other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and alkanes). We propose to study in detail the biodegradation by naturally occurring microorganisms of these compounds under the conditions likely to occur in groundwater. More than just serving as a treatment option, knowledge about the biodegradation of these compounds also provides insight into the natural attenuation processes that these microbes can carry out in situ.
|Effective start/end date||1/15/09 → 1/14/14|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))