BIOB: A mathematical model for the biodegradation of low solubility hydrocarbons

Xiaolong Geng, Michel C. Boufadel, Yves R. Personna, Ken Lee, David Tsao, Erik D. Demicco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Modeling oil biodegradation is an important step in predicting the long term fate of oil on beaches. Unfortunately, existing models do not account mechanistically for environmental factors, such as pore water nutrient concentration, affecting oil biodegradation, rather in an empirical way. We present herein a numerical model, BIOB, to simulate the biodegradation of insoluble attached hydrocarbon. The model was used to simulate an experimental oil spill on a sand beach. The biodegradation kinetic parameters were estimated by fitting the model to the experimental data of alkanes and aromatics. It was found that parameter values are comparable to their counterparts for the biodegradation of dissolved organic matter. The biodegradation of aromatics was highly affected by the decay of aromatic biomass, probably due to its low growth rate. Numerical simulations revealed that the biodegradation rate increases by 3-4 folds when the nutrient concentration is increased from 0.2 to 2.0. mg. N/L.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


  • Biodegradation
  • Dual-Monod kinetics
  • Light crude oil
  • Mathematical model
  • Parameter estimation
  • Sand beach


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