Microbial degradation of jet fuel leads to the accumulation of sludge in fuel distribution systems and storage tanks. To prevent this phenomenon, the biocidal anti-icing inhibitor diethylene glycol monomethyl ether (DiEGME) is routinely added to the fuel. The fate of DiEGME in soil and its consequent effect on the biodegradation of jet fuel by indigenous soil microflora have not been investigated. The aim of this work was to study the kinetics of biodegradation of jet fuel in dark rendzina soil, as affected by the presence of DiEGME. Our data show that the degradability in soil of jet fuel amended with DiEGME was tenfold higher than that of non-amended fuel. Consequently, there was an increase in the jet-fuel-utilizing soil microbial populations during the 100 days of incubation of soil samples amended with jet fuel containing DiEGME. Gas chromatograms of distilled fractions of jet fuel extracted from the soil demonstrated that most of the light fractions' extracts could not be detected at the end of the 100-day incubation. The relative concentration of aromatic compounds in the soil contaminated with DiEGME-amended jet fuel increased during incubation, demonstrating the lower biodegradation rate of these components compared with other fuel components. DiEGME was partially degraded by the general microbial population of the soil. Maximal DiEGME degradation was obtained with specific jet-fuel-utilizing microbial strains - Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Cladosporium resinae - that were added to a carbon-free mineral medium. The degradation rate of DiEGME by specific strains or by soil mixed populations bore an inverse relationship to the DiEGME concentration. The finding that DiEGME can be degraded by indigenous soil microorganisms may have facilitated its utilization also by jet-fuel-degrading microorganisms.
- Icing inhibitor
- Jet fuel