Bioremediation of oil spills on beaches commonly involves the addition of nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) to stimulate the growth of indigenous oil-degrading bacteria. Very little information is available regarding the relationship between nutrient concentration and the rate of oil biodegradation. This information is necessary to design an appropriate nutrient delivery technology. We used continuous-flow beach microcosms containing heptadecane-coated sand (2.0 g per kg of dry sand) to evaluate the effect of nitrate concentration on the hydrocarbon biodegradation rate. Heptadecane biodegradation was determined by monitoring oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production in the microcosms. The maximum biodegradation occurred at 2.5 mg nitrate-N l−1. Nitrogen recycling by the biomass was evidenced by the presence of microbial activity at zero influent nitrate concentration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal