Bioremediation of polyaromatic hydrocarboncontaminated sediments in aerated bioslurry reactors

Loren A. Leunen, Vincent H. Buggs, Michael E. Eestep, Rica C. Enriquez, Joseph W. Leonerd, Michael J. Blaylock, Jien Wei Huang, Max M. Haggblom

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31 Scopus citations


Treatment of dredged sediments contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is a significant problem in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) Harbor. 0.5 m-scale slurry-phase bioreactors were used to determine whether bioaugmentation with a PAH-degradative bacterial consortium, or with the salt marsh grass S. alterniflora, could enhance the biodegradation of PAHs added to dredged estuarine sediments from the NY/NJ Harbor. The results were compared to biodegradation effected by the indigenous sediment microbial community. Sediments were diluted 1:1 in tap water and spiked to a final concentration of 20 rng/kg dry weight sediment of phenanthrene, anthracene, acenaphthene, fluorene, fluoranthene, and pyrene. The sediment slurry was then continuously sparged with air over 3 months. In all bioreactors a rapid reduction. of greater than 95% of the initial phenanthrene, acenaphthene, and fluorene occurred within 14 days. Pyrene and fluoranthene reductions of 70 to 90% were achieved by day 77 of treatment. Anthracene was more recalcitrant and reductions ranged from 30 to 85%. Separate experiments showed that the sediment microbial communities mineralized 14C-pyrene and 14C-phenanthrene. PAH degradation, and the number of phenanthrene-degrading bacteria, were not enhanced by microbial or plant bioaugmentation. These data demonstrate that bioaugmentation is not required to effect efficient remediation of PAR-contaminated dredged sediments in slurry-phase bioreactors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalBioremediation Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)


  • Bioaugmentation
  • Microbial community
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons
  • Sediments
  • Slurry-phase bioreactor
  • Spartina alterniflora


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