Activated carbon (AC) can help overcome toxicity of pollutants to microbes and facilitate soil bioremediation. We used this approach to treat a Histosol and an Alluvial soil historically contaminated with PCB (4190 and 1585 mg kg-1, respectively; primarily tri-, tetra- and pentachlorinated congeners). Results confirmed PCB persistence; reductions in PCB extractable from control and AC-amended soils were mostly due to a decrease in tri- and to some extent tetrachlorinated congeners as well as formation of a bound fraction. Mechanisms of PCB binding by soil and AC were different. In addition to microbial degradation of less chlorinated congeners, we postulate AC catalyzed dechlorination of higher chlorinated congeners. A large decrease in bioavailable PCB in AC-amended soils was demonstrated by greater clover germination and biomass. Phytotoxicity was low in treated soils but remained high in untreated soils for the duration of a 39-month experiment. These observations indicate the utility of AC for remediation of soils historically contaminated with PCB.
- Activated carbon
- Polychlorinated biphenyl
- Soil bioremediation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis