Metabolic biomarkers for detecting anaerobic PAH biodegradation in groundwater and sediments

Craig D. Phelps, L. Y. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Several unique metabolites that may be used as biomarkers for monitoring in situ PAH biodegradation were formed. For instance, 2-naphthoic acid (2-NA), tetrahydro-2-naphthoic acid and hexahydro-2-naphthoic acid are all intermediate metabolites generated by sulfate-reducing bacteria degrading naphthalene. Methods for detecting these biomarkers in groundwater were developed, and their usefulness at a well-characterized field site was validated. Groundwater samples were taken from wells distributed throughout an anaerobic, creosote-contaminated aquifer in Stockton, CA. All four of the anaerobic metabolites were detectable in various samples from the site. The concentration of 2-NA at each monitoring well was quantified and correlated to the zones of naphthalene contamination. Presence of the other biomarkers in the same wells as 2-NA was used as confirmation that the anaerobic pathways were indeed active at this site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023
Number of pages1
JournalSoil and Sediment Contamination
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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