Anaerobic biodegradation of MTBE in a field site above the Israeli Coastal Aquifer: evidence from delta C-13 compound-specific isotope analysis: Evidence from δ13C compound-specific isotope analysis

Almog Gafni, Ravid Rosenzweig, Faina Gelman, Zeev Ronen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The fuel additive, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), is one of the most frequently occurring groundwater pollutantsworldwide. The present study focused on assessing microbial degradation of MTBE in groundwater below a gasoline stationsituated above the Israeli Coastal Aquifer. Groundwater was monitored in six monitoring wells over a time period of 2.5 years.RESULTS: The site water geochemistry indicated that anaerobic conditions prevailed in two of the most contaminated wells.During a year MTBE concentrations declined from 81 to 4.2 mg L−1, concurrently, with a significant change in 𝜹13Cfrom−31.4to −11.8 ‰ in a source area monitoring well. MTBE biodegradation during microcosm experiments under sulfate reducing andmethanogenic conditions resulted in carbon isotopic enrichment factors (𝝐)of−17.2 ± 1.1 ‰.CONCLUSION: Significant decrease in MTBE concentrations, along with pronounced changes in carbon isotope composition,indicates in situ degradation of MTBE occurring at the site. This evidence was supported by a microcosm experiment withindigenous microbial cultures. The estimated rate of biodegradation is 0.7 year−1, which is about 70% of the total naturalattenuation (NA) processes.© 2016 Society of Chemical Industry
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)1638-1645
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Volume91
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

  • compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA)
  • methyl tert butyl ether (MTBE)
  • anaerobic biodegradation
  • microcosm
  • field study

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