Delivery of vegetable oil suspensions in a shear thinning fluid for enhanced bioremediation

L. Zhong, M. J. Truex, N. Kananizadeh, Y. Li, A. S. Lea, X. Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


In situ anaerobic biological processes are widely applied for dechlorination of chlorinated solvents in groundwater. A wide range of organic substrates have been tested and applied to support the dechlorination processes. Vegetable oils are a promising type of substrate and have been shown to induce effective dechlorination, have limited geochemical impacts, and maintain good longevity. Because they are non-aqueous phase liquids, distribution of vegetable oils in the subsurface has typically been approached by creating emulsified oil solutions for injection into the aquifer. In this study, inexpensive waste vegetable oils were suspended in a shear-thinning xanthan gum solution as an alternative approach for delivery of vegetable oil to the subsurface. The stability, oil droplet size distribution, and rheological behavior of the oil suspensions that are created in the xanthan solutions were studied in batch experiments. The injectability of the suspensions and the oil distribution in a porous medium were evaluated in column tests. Numerical modeling of oil droplet transport and distribution in porous media was conducted to help interpret the column-test data. Batch studies showed that simple mixing of vegetable oil with xanthan solution produced stable suspensions of the oil as micron-size droplets. The mixture rheology retains shear-thinning properties that facilitate improved uniformity of substrate distribution in heterogeneous aquifers. Column tests demonstrated successful injection of the vegetable oil suspension into a porous medium. This study provides evidence that vegetable oil suspensions in xanthan gum solutions have favorable injection properties and are a potential substrate for in situ anaerobic bioremediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
StatePublished - 2015


  • Amendment
  • Bioremediation
  • Shear thinning fluid
  • Subsurface delivery
  • Vegetable oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology

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