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Bioremediation Of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (pcbs) Contaminated Soils: A Case Study At Rietvlei Farm Borehole No. 11, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Congress: 2015
Author(s): David Sengani (Pretoria ), Natasha Potgieter, Paul Mojapelo
University of Venda1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 2: Surface water and groundwater,
AbstractPolychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are worldwide environmental pollutants which contaminate the environment through careless disposal practices and accidental spills or leakages from electrical transformers. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are lipophilic chemicals soluble in fats, slightly soluble in water and readily bioaccumulated in the fatty tissues of fish, birds, animals and humans. The main objective of this study was to isolate and identify PCB degrading bacteria from PCB contaminated soils and test them for their degradation ability of PCBs in natural habitat conditions. Three bacteria species which comprise of Gram negative and Gram positive microorganisms were isolated and identified through biochemical tests, catalase tests, oxidase tests and morphological study and included Burkholderia cepacia, Pasteurella pneumotropica and Enterococcus faecalis. The results indicated that, there was an overall decrease of PCB concentration level and the readings ranged between -1.51 and -1.79 respectively for all the microorganisms. Bacteria in the PCB contaminated soil could remove as much as 32% of PCBs. Additional data showed that the three isolated strains were able to grow on PCB contaminated soil and degrade PCBs by 21% and 32%. In addation, data showed that the 3 bacterial strains could tolerate high concentration of PCBs. The results provided the evidence that naturally occurring bacteria in soil contaminated with PCBs have the potential to degrade PCBs. Statistical analysis showed that there was a significant positive correlation between bacteria growth and treatment with a coefficient of (r) =0.1459 and p value <0.001. Keywords: Bacteria, Bioaccumulation, Biodegradation, Bioremediation, Polychlorinated Biphenyls. 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