Improved removal of Trinitrotoluene (TNT) from contaminated soil by inducing aerobic process: kinetic and chemical byproducts

Document Type : Original Article


1 Nutrition Health Research Center, Department of Environment Health, School of Health, Lorestan Medical Sciences University, Khoramabad, Iran.

2 Nutrition Health Research Center, Department of Environment Health, School of Health, Lorestan Medical Sciences University, Khoramabad, Iran

3 Department of chemistry, Tehran medical sciences branch, IslamicAzad university, Tehran,


This study describes the biological degradation of TNT by using induced aeration. Three plastic reactors were used. In each reactor 3 kg of soil were used. In order to increase the porosity of the soil, sawdust was added to soil. Textile wastewater treatment plant sludge was also added to soil. TNT at the concentrations of 1000 mg/kg of soil was added thereafter. Rhamnolipid biosurfactant at the concentration of 60 mg/L was added to related reactors. Aeration interval was at every 3 to 5 days. Every two weeks, sampling of soil were done to analyze the explosives. Samples were analyzed by HPLC. The results showed that at the end of 120 days, TNT removal efficiency in induced aeration in reactors containing sludge and biosurfactant was 98 percent. COD removal efficiency in induced aeration in reactors amended by rhamnolipid was 58 percent and in reactors to which rhamnolipid was not added was 41 percent. Follow-up kinetic studies revealed that explosives removal follow the pseudo first order reaction. The pseudo first-order rate constants of rhamnolipid amended experiments were at least 3.89 orders of magnitude higher for TNT than those found for experiments without rhamnolipid. Application of Rhamnolipid biosurfactant could have a protective effect against the toxicity of explosives for bacteria. Textile sludge from wastewater treatment plant can decrease the time needed for explosive removal. Growth of bacteria and degradation of explosives showed that explosives have been used as a nitrogen source. 


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