In situ biodegradation determined by carbon isotope fractionation of aromatic hydrocarbons in an anaerobic landfill leachate plume (Vejen, Denmark)

Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Hans H RichnowThomas H Christensen

Abstract

Concentrations and isotopic compositions (13C/12C) of aromatic hydrocarbons were determined in eight samples obtained from the strongly anoxic part of the leachate plume downgradient from the Vejen Landfill (Denmark), where methanogenic, sulfate-reducing and iron-reducing conditions were observed. Despite the heterogeneous distribution of the compounds in the plume, the isotope fractionation proved that ethylbenzene and m/p-xylene were subject to significant biodegradation within the strongly anoxic plume. The isotope fractionation factors (alphaC) for the degradation of the m/p-xylene (1.0015) and ethylbenzene (1.0021) obtained from the field observations were similar to factors previously determined for the anaerobic degradation of toluene and o-xylene in laboratory experiments, and suggest that in situ biodegradation is one major process controlling the fate of these contaminants in this aquifer. The isotope fractionation determined for 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene and 2-ethyltoluene suggested in situ biodegradation; however, the isotopic composition did not correlate well with the respective concentration as expressed by the Rayleigh equation. Some other compounds (1,2,3-trimethylbenzene, o-xylene, naphthalene and fenchone) did n...Continue Reading

Citations

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