Laboratory and field scale bioremediation of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) contaminated soils by means of bioaugmentation and biostimulation

Research paper by Nidhi Garg, Pushp Lata, Simran Jit, Naseer Sangwan, Amit Kumar Singh, Vatsala Dwivedi, Neha Niharika, Jasvinder Kaur, Anjali Saxena, Ankita Dua, Namita Nayyar, Puneet Kohli, Birgit Geueke, Petra Kunz, Daniel Rentsch, et al.

Indexed on: 04 May '16Published on: 03 May '16Published in: Biodegradation


Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) contaminated soils were treated for a period of up to 64 days in situ (HCH dumpsite, Lucknow) and ex situ (University of Delhi) in line with three bioremediation approaches. The first approach, biostimulation, involved addition of ammonium phosphate and molasses, while the second approach, bioaugmentation, involved addition of a microbial consortium consisting of a group of HCH-degrading sphingomonads that were isolated from HCH contaminated sites. The third approach involved a combination of biostimulation and bioaugmentation. The efficiency of the consortium was investigated in laboratory scale experiments, in a pot scale study, and in a full-scale field trial. It turned out that the approach of combining biostimulation and bioaugmentation was most effective in achieving reduction in the levels of α- and β-HCH and that the application of a bacterial consortium as compared to the action of a single HCH-degrading bacterial strain was more successful. Although further degradation of β- and δ-tetrachlorocyclohexane-1,4-diol, the terminal metabolites of β- and δ-HCH, respectively, did not occur by the strains comprising the consortium, these metabolites turned out to be less toxic than the parental HCH isomers.