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Title (Primary) In situ biodegradation determined by carbon isotope fractionation of aromatic hydrocarbons in an anaerobic landfill leachate plume (Vejen, Denmark)
Author Richnow, H.H.; Meckenstock, R.U.; Reitzel, L.A.; Baun, A.; Ledin, A.; Christensen, T.H.;
Journal Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Year 2003
Department ISOBIO;
Volume 64
Issue 1-2
Language englisch;
Keywords natural attenuation; stable isotopes; in situ degradation; BTEX; anaerobic degradation
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 (αC) 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 not show significant enrichments in δ13C values along the flow path. The compound concentrations were too low for accurate isotope analyses of benzene, toluene, 1- and 2-methylnaphthalene, while interferences in the chromatography made it impossible to evaluate the isotopic composition for 4-ethyltoluene, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene and camphor.

In addition to demonstrating the potential of assessing isotopic fractionation as a means for documenting the in situ biodegradation of complex mixtures of aromatic hydrocarbons in leachate plumes, this study also illustrates the difficulties for data interpretation in complex plumes and high analytical uncertainties for isotope analysis of organic compounds in low concentration ranges.

ID 5138
Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=5138
Richnow, H.H., Meckenstock, R.U., Reitzel, L.A., Baun, A., Ledin, A., Christensen, T.H. (2003):
In situ biodegradation determined by carbon isotope fractionation of aromatic hydrocarbons in an anaerobic landfill leachate plume (Vejen, Denmark)
J. Contam. Hydrol. 64 (1-2), 59 - 72