Assessment of soil contamination by gas cloud generated from chemical fire using metabolic profiling and associated bacterial communities

Jungman Jo, Yongtae Ahn, Kalimuthu Pandi, Heesoo Pyo, Naeun Kim, Seong Taek Yun, Minseok Kim, Jeongae Lee, Jaeyoung Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chemical accidents have frequently occurred in South Korea as a result of the huge amount of chemicals being used in various industries. Even though fire accidents accounted for 71.9% of chemical accidents during 2008–2018 in South Korea, most ecological research and investigation has focused on leakage accidents since most fire or explosion gases are diffused out and disappear into the atmosphere. In this study, the possibility of soil contamination by toluene combustion is proposed. A fire simulation batch test was performed and identified the combustion by-products such as methylbenzene, ethylbenzene, ethynylbenzene, benzaldehyde, 1-phenyl-1-propyne, naph-thalene, 2-methylindene using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Naphthyl-2-methyl-succinic acid, a metabolic intermediate of naphthalene metabolism derived from the combustion product of toluene, was also discovered in field soil and the secondary metabolites such as streptomycin 6-phosphate, 3-Nitroacrylate, oxaloacetate using LC–MS. Moreover, Strepto-myces scabiei, participating in naphthalene metabolism, was also discovered in filed soil (contaminated soil) using 16s rRNA sequencing. As a result, bacterial stress responses in field soil (contaminated soil) affected by gas cloud were identified by discovering metabolites relating to bacterial self-defense action such as fatty biosynthesis. This study draws a conclusion that soil can be polluted enough to affect bacteria by gas cloud and soil bacteria and can encounter stress for a long term even though toluene and its combustion products had already decomposed in soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article number372
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr


  • 16s rRNA
  • Chemical accident
  • Combustion
  • Metabolomics
  • Toluene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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