Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

5-31-1992

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Piero M. Armenante

Second Advisor

Gordon Lewandowski

Third Advisor

Dana E. Knox

Abstract

The white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium has been previously found to successfully degrade a wide spectrum of chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons (some of them in soil or sand matrices). In this research, it was tested if the fungus could also degrade a very recalcitrant class of pollutant, i.e. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in sand at a concentration of 100 ppm (w/w PCB to sand). For this purpose, a number of experiments were performed, in which several operating parameters, such as nutrient concentrations (nitrogen and glucose), amount of initial biomass, aeration, and degree of chlorination of the PCBs were varied. The results obtained indicate that the fungus is unable to degrade the PCBs under the experimental conditions tested in this work. In order to further validate this conclusion a new set of experiments was carried out, in which the activity of the fungus was tested against PCBs as well as 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP). The experiments with 2,4,6-trichlorophenol were run in parallel with those with PCBs, and under similar conditions. The fungus used to inoculate both the compounds came from the same batch. It was evident from these experiments, that the fungus was able to mineralize the TCP completely, but could not degrade the PCBs. From all the results obtained during this research, it can be concluded that the fungus is ineffective to degrade the PCBs.

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