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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Mineralization Potential for Phenol in Subsurface Soils1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 16 No. 1, p. 54-58
    Received: July 31, 1986

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  1. Durell C. Dobbins,
  2. Janice R. Thornton-Manning,
  3. Daniel D. Jones and
  4. Thomas W. Federle2



The mineralization of 14C-phenol to 14CO2 was determined in each horizon of four contrasting soil profiles using a modification of the approach used to determine heterotrophic potential in aquatic environments. Short-term mineralization rates were determined at 12 concentrations ranging from 5 to 10 000 µg phenol kg−1 dry soil and the data were reduced using a hyperbolic saturation model similar to that used for describing enzyme kinetics. The kinetic terms Vmax and K′ were estimated using nonlinear regression. Phenol was mineralized in all soil samples at each concentration examined. The Vmax values ranged from 0.018 to 22.4 ng phenol kg−1 dry soil s−1; K′ values ranged from 20 to 2355 µg phenol kg−1 dry soil. Generally within each soil profile, Vmax tended to decline with increasing depth; however, the magnitude and pattern of this decline varied widely according to soil type. The Vmax in the Ap horizons (3–15 cm) ranged from 2.49 to 13.8 ng kg−1 dry soil s−1. The Vmax in the B22t horizons (30–101 cm) ranged from 0.839 to 2.65 ng kg−1 s−1, and Vmax in the deepest horizons (81–187 cm) ranged from 0.145 to 4.75 ng kg−1 dry soil s−1. This study indicates that soil horizon and soil type are important determinants of the biodegradation of phenol, a potential groundwater pollutant, as it passes through the soil column.

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