Impact of addition of amendments on the degradation of DDT and its residues partitioned on soil

Swatantra P. Singh, Purnendu Bose, Saumyen Guha, Suresh K. Gurjar, Santosh Bhalekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Market-grade DDT used for mosquito control and other purposes is a mixture of 4,4-DDT, 2,4-DDT and smaller amounts of 4,4-DDD, 2,4-DDD, 4,4-DDE and 4,4-DDMU. All above components (together known as DDTr) are strongly hydrophobic and hence are present in the environment predominantly in the soil/sediment phases. The persistence of DDTr and the feasibility of attenuation of DDTr concentration in soil matrix through addition of amendments is a subject of ongoing interest. The objective of this study was to compare the decline of soil-partitioned DDTr concentration through, (1) the natural attenuation process, (2) enhanced aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation processes involving addition of acclimatized seed and co-metabolites and (3) Nanoscale Zero Valent Iron (NZVI) addition. The extent of decline in soil DDTr concentration in control experiments, where biodegradation and photolysis were excluded, was around 10-15% in ~100. d. Extent of DDTr decline in natural attenuation experiments was 25-30% and 15-20% under aerobic and anaerobic conditions respectively. In enhanced biodegradation experiments, addition of acclimatized seed and/or co-metabolites did not enhance the extent of DDTr attenuation over and above the natural attenuation rates both in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. It thus appeared that biodegradation of DDTr adsorbed on soil was severely limited and controlled by desorption and consequent bioavailability of DDTr in the aqueous phase. In case of NZVI addition, the rate of DDTr degradation was much faster, with 40% decrease in DDTr concentration within 28. h of NZVI addition. Here, the faster DDTr degradation may be through direct electron transfer between NZVI particles and DDTr molecules adsorbed on soil. Increase in the concentration of 4,4-DDD and 2,4-DDD during NZVI addition suggest that these compounds are either intermediate or end products of DDT degradation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-820
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • DDT
  • NZVI (Nanoscale Zero Valent Iron)
  • Natural attenuation
  • Reductive dechlorination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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