Effect of sorption on benzene biodegradation in sandy soil

Song Bae Kim, In Hwang, Dong Ju Kim, Sangjin Lee, William A. Jury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of sorption on benzene biodegradation in sandy soil was studied by conducting kinetic microcosm batch tests in soil-free solution and in the presence or absence of bacteria in soil materials with varying degrees of powdered activated carbon (PAC). In the soil-free experiment, benzene was added to a solution inoculated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in order to achieve a potential or maximum biodegradation rate. In subsequent experiments, benzene was applied to a solution containing sandy soil and various PAC contents with and without inoculating P. aeruginosa. Benzene concentrations in the soil-free experiments decreased with time with two characteristic rates. A two-stage exponential decay model adequately represented the observed solution concentration pattern with time. Sorption experiments in bacteria-free soil also decreased monotonically, with the extent of sorption increasing as PAC content increased. The sorption data were represented well with a two-stage irreversible sorption model. A third set of experiments in the presence of both soil and bacteria showed more rapid concentration loss from solution than the set of experiments with bacteria-free soil. A model combining sorption and degradation greatly overestimated the loss when the rate coefficient from the bacteria-free experiments was used. Satisfactory agreement between model predictions and observed values was obtained when the degradation rate coefficients were decreased by factors ranging from 3 to 10, depending on the amount of PAC present. Model predictions of the percentage benzene mass remaining in the soil after 25 d of degradation ranged from 72 to 97%, depending on the PAC content, compared to only 2.5% remaining in soil-free solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2306-2311
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Oct 1


  • Benzene
  • Bioavailability factor
  • Biodegradation
  • Sorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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