Automobiles, Environment, Petroleum waste, Roadside improvement, Soil pollution
Bacteria from dry and wet roadside environments were examined for the ability to degrade hydrocarbons. The kinds and numbers of bacteria observed were similar to those reported in other petroleum contaminated environments. Surface soils (top 2.5 cm) immediately adjacent to the highway pavement and the sediments of shallow drainage ditches contained the highest concentrations of petroleum degrading bacteria (9.8 x 107 CFU/g). Concentration and species diversity of petroleum degrading bacteria decreased with distance from the highway pavement. Chromatographic analysis of highway stormwater runoff and the soil in close proximity to the highway indicated the presence of complex hydrocarbon mixtures of vehicular origin. The concentrations of chloroform extractable hydrocarbons decreased with distance from the highway pavement. Hydrocarbon degradation rates in the roadside environment were determined by the oxidation of radiolabeled [1-14C] hexadecane. Roadside soil and water samples were incubated under nutrient enriched and in situ environmental conditions. Biodegradation rates in environmental samples enriched with inorganic nutrients were 25-126 fold higher than the in situ rates. The highest in situ rates (92 µg hexadecane g-1 solid h-1) occurred in wet surface solid (top 2.5 cm) immediately adjacent to the highway pavement. The findings of the investigation indicate that the roadside environment under study was a petroleum contaminated ecosystem in which biodegradation of hydrocarbon pollutants was greatly influenced by the design of the roadside drainage systems. Furthermore, petroleum degradation in roadside environments can be enhanced by construction of shallow drainage ditches which support aerobic microbial biodegradation.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Natural Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Automobiles -- Environmental aspects, Petroleum waste, Roadside improvement, Soil pollution
Johnson, Jesse W., "The Biodegredation of Vehicular Waste Petroleum in the Roadside Environment" (1979). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 427.