Biodegradability of nitroxylene isomers
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Microcosm studies were conducted beginning with three xylene isomers: ortho-xylene, meta-xylene and para-xylene; and continued with the four mononitroxylene (MNX) isomers, culminating with testing ten dinitroxylene (DNX) isomers. Soil samples were obtained from a historically contaminated site with high levels of dinitrotoluene (DNT), trinitrotoluene (TNT) and dinitroxylene (DNX) and used as the inoculum for microcosm tests. The microcosm method of different isomers was based on the previous work on biodegradation of nitrotoluene. As it was demonstrated previously that 2,4-DNT degrading bacteria were present at the site, it was hypothesized that these may be capable of transforming or cometabolizing some of DNX isomers. Thus, DNX cometabolism studies were conducted in the presence of 2,4-DNT degrading bacteria. The presence of xylene and 2,4-DNT degrading was confirmed in this thesis. Meanwhile, several MNX and DNX isomers showed degradability in microcosm studies. Cometabolism studies showed that four DNX isomers could be cometabolized by 2,4-DNT enrichment.