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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Bioremediation and Biodegradation

Persistence of Fermentative Process to Phenolic Toxicity in Groundwater


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 6, p. 2021-2025
    Received: Feb 22, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): ywu@mail.sdsu.edu
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  1. Youxian Wu *a,
  2. David N. Lernera,
  3. Steven A. Banwarta,
  4. Steven F. Thorntona and
  5. Roger W. Pickupb
  1. a Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Mappin St., Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
    b Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Lancaster LA1 4AP. Y. Wu, current address, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA


The fermentation process is an important component in the biodegradation of organic compounds in natural and contaminated systems. Comparing with terminal electron-accepting processes (TEAPs), however, research on fermentation processes has to some extent been ignored in the past decades, particularly on the persistence of fermentation process in the presence of toxic organic pollutants. Both field and laboratory studies, presented here, showed that microbial processes in a groundwater-based system exhibited a differential inhibitory response to toxicity of phenolic compounds from coal tar distillation, thus resulting in the accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and hydrogen. This indicated that fermentation processes could be more resistant to phenol toxicity than the subsequent TEAPs such as methanogenesis and sulfate reduction, thus providing us with more options for enhancing bioremediation processes.

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