Degradation of organic contaminants found in organic waste

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In recent years, great interest has arisen in recycling of the waste created by modern society. A common way of recycling the organic fraction is amendment on farmland. However, these wastes may contain possible hazardous components in small amounts, which may prevent their use in farming. The objective of our study has been to develop biological methods by which selected organic xenobiotic compounds can be biotransformed by anaerobic or aerobic treatment. Screening tests assessed the capability of various inocula to degrade two phthalates di-n-butylphthalate, and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, five polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, linear alkylbenzene sulfonates and three nonylphenol ethoxylates under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Under aerobic conditions, by selecting the appropriate inoculum most of the selected xenobiotics could be degraded. Aerobic degradation of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was only possible with leachate from a landfill as inoculum. Anaerobic degradation of some of the compounds was also detected. Leachate showed capability of degrading phthalates, and anaerobic sludge showed potential for degrading, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, linear alkylbenzene sulfonates and nonyl phenol ethoxylates. The results are promising as they indicate that a great potential for biological degradation is present, though the inoculum containing the microorganisms capable of transforming the recalcitrant xenobiotics has to be chosen carefully.

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