Biofilm barriers to contain and degrade dissolved trichloroethylene

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Biologically produced subsurface barriers (i.e., biofilm barriers) are a viable technology for controlling contaminant migration from hazardous waste sites. Biofilm barriers are created through the injection of bacteria and selective growth medium into a series of wells downstream of a contaminant plume. Adequate substrate addition enables the bacteria to grow and form thick biofilms capable of uniform plugging of the subsurface. This technology has been successful in significantly reducing porous media permeability in bench-scale and field-scale applications. The research presented herein expands on current biofilm. barrier technology by examining the feasibility of using a biofilm barrier to not only control contaminant migration through permeability reduction, but also facilitate contaminant biodegradation. ne experimental scenario involved the creation of a dual-species biofilm matrix: one organism to reduce porous media permeability through thick biofilm formation and another organism to degrade a contaminant, in this case trichloroethylene (TCE). Porous medium column experiments demonstrated that a dual-species biofilm barrier can be created and that growth medium concentration was a very important variable in controlling simultaneous TCE degradation and permeability reduction.




Komlos J, Cunningham AB, Camper AK, Sharp RR, "Biofilm barriers to contain and degrade dissolved trichloroethylene," Environmental Progress, 2004; 23(1):69-77
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