Research Article Open Access

Phenanthrene Contaminated Soil Biotreatment Using Slurry Phase Bioreactor

M. Arbabi, M. Sadeghi and Ch. Anyakora


Problem Statement: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are suspected toxins that accumulate in soils and sediments due to their insolubility in water and lack of volatility. Slurry-phase biological treatment is one of the innovative technologies that involve the controlled treatment of excavated soil in a bioreactor. Due to highly soil contamination from petroleum compounds in crude oil extraction and also oil refinery sites in Iran, this research was designed based on slurry phase biotreatment to find out a solution to decontamination of oil compounds polluted sites. Approach: Soil samples were collected from Tehran oil refinery site and Bushehr oil zones. Two compositions of soils (clay and silt) were selected for slurry biotreatment experiment. Soil samples were contaminated with three rates of phenanthrene (a 3 ring PAH), 100, 500 and 1000 mg kg-1 and mixed with distilled water in solid concentration of 30% by weight after washing out with strong solvent (hexane) and putting in to the oven. Bacterial consortium was revived in culture medium which consisted of Mineral Salt Medium (MSM) based on phenanthrene concentrations and ratio of C/N/P in the range of 100/10/2. Prepared soil samples were mixed with distilled water, nutrient and bacterial consortium together in the 250 mL glass Erlenmeyer and putted in the shaker incubator with 200 rpm revolutions and 25°C for 7 weeks (45 days). Samples were analyzed for residual phenanthrene, bacterial population every week. For statistical analysis, general linear model with repeated measures (type III) analysis was applied. Results: The concentration of 100 mg L-1 of phenanthrene in clayey and silty soils reached to non detectable limit after 5 and 6 weeks, respectively. While concentration of 500 mg L-1 of phenanthrene both in clayey and silty soils reached to non detectable limit after 6 weeks. But concentration of 1000 mg L-1 both in clayey and silty soil samples has not met this limitation after 7 weeks. Due to presence of Pseudomonas strains in clayey soil samples and their ability in breaking down of benzene rings, the removal efficiency of phenanthrene in our slurry bioreactor in clayey soil was a little more than silty soil samples over time. There was a significance relationship between initial concentrations of phenanthrene and type of soil with time of biotreatment (p<0.001). Conclusion: Therefore, this technology may be applied to remediation of small foot print oil contaminated sites, e.g., gas station, oil extraction and refinery sites in Iran, in the case of urgency. Thus this study concludes that the remediation of phenanthrene with concentration up to 1000 mg kg-1 in the oil contaminated sites can be removed to the acceptable limits using slurry based system.

American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 5 No. 3, 2009, 223-229


Submitted On: 29 November 2008 Published On: 30 June 2009

How to Cite: Arbabi, M., Sadeghi, M. & Anyakora, C. (2009). Phenanthrene Contaminated Soil Biotreatment Using Slurry Phase Bioreactor . American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 5(3), 223-229.

  • 6 Citations



  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • phenanthrene
  • PAH-contaminated soils
  • bioremediation
  • slurry phase bioreactor