Effect of soil pH on biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

R.M. PAWAR, A.M. Hall & D.C. Naseby

Author address: 

Microbiology, Molecular Biology & Biotechnology Research Group, School of Life Science, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB


Environmental fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is a significant issue raising interest in bioremediation. However, the physio-chemical characteristics of compounds as well as the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils can drastically influence the degradation of pollutants. The effect of soil pH on degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) with a view to manipulating soil pH to enhance the bioremediation of PAH’s was studied. The degradation rate of key PAHs (Phenanthrene, Anthracene, Flouranthene, and Pyrene) was monitored in an Arthur Brower’s soil at range of pH (58). Isolation and characterization of PAH degraders was carried out, to identify fungal strains degrading PAHsusing PCR amplification of 18 rDNA. L-arginine ammonification was measured to estimate soil microbial biomass, whilst the degradation rate of each individual PAHs was monitored using HPLC analysis. Greater fungal populations were found at low (acidic) soil pH and high (basic) soil pH, in comparison with neutral pH (7). Aspergillus was found to be more prevalent at acidic pH whilst Pencillium was found to be more prevalent at pH 7.58. Since, greatest degradation rates were found at soil pH 7.5 suggesting that liming to increase soil pH therefore, may increase bioremediation rates.

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

Society of General Microbiology Meeting
    • SGM 166th (2010)