In this study, the emulsified castor oil (ECO) substrate was developed for a long-term supplement of biodegradable carbon with pH buffering capacity to anaerobically bioremediate trichloroethylene (TCE)-polluted groundwater. The ECO was produced by mixing castor oil, surfactants (sapindales and soya lecithin [SL]), vitamin complex, and a citrate/sodium phosphate dibasic buffer system together for slow carbon release. Results of the emulsification experiments and microcosm tests indicate that ECO emulsion had uniform small droplets (diameter = 539 nm) with stable oil-in-water characteristics. ECO had a long-lasting, dispersive, negative zeta potential (−13 mv), and biodegradable properties (viscosity = 357 cp). Approximately 97% of TCE could be removed with ECO supplement after a 95-day operational period without the accumulation of TCE dechlorination byproducts (dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride). The buffer system could neutralize acidified groundwater, and citrate could be served as a primary substrate. ECO addition caused an abrupt TCE adsorption at the initial stage and the subsequent removal of adsorbed TCE. Results from the next generation sequences and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) indicate that the increased microbial communities and TCE-degrading bacterial consortia were observed after ECO addition. ECO could be used as a pH-control and carbon substrate to enhance anaerobic TCE biodegradation effectively. Practitioner Points: Emulsified castor oil (ECO) contains castor oil, surfactants, and buffer for a slow carbon release and pH control. ECO can be a long-term carbon source for trichloroethylene (TCE) dechlorination without causing acidification. TCE removal after ECO addition is due to adsorption and reductive dechlorination mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Ecological Modeling
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal