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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 319657, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/319657
Research Article

Improvement of Bioremediation Performance for the Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Contaminated Sediments

Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy

Received 24 May 2011; Revised 8 August 2011; Accepted 12 August 2011

Academic Editor: Ligia Rodrigues

Copyright © 2011 Laura Rocchetti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Microcosm bioremediation strategies were applied to sediments contaminated with hydrocarbons. Experiments were performed in aerobic conditions in a single-step treatment and in a two-step anaerobic-aerobic treatment. In aerobic conditions, either inorganic nutrients or composts were added to the microcosms, while, in the first anaerobic phase of the two-step experiment, acetate and/or allochthonous sulfate-reducing bacteria were used. After the treatment under anaerobic conditions, samples were exposed to aerobic conditions in the presence of compost. In the aerobic treatments, 81% hydrocarbon biodegradation was observed after 43 days in the presence of inorganic nutrients. In aerobic conditions in the presence of mature compost, hydrocarbon biodegradation was 51% after 43 days of treatment, whereas it was 47% after 21 days with fresh compost. The two-step experiment allowed us to obtain a hydrocarbon degradation of 91%, after a first anaerobic step with an inoculum of sulfate-reducing prokaryotes.