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University of Cincinnati

Superfund Research Program

Microbial Degradation of PAH Mixtures

Project Leader: David Warshawsky (University of Cincinnati, Department of Environmental Health)
Grant Number: P42ES004908
Funding Period: 1995 - 2001

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The overall objective of this project is to determine and enhance the microbial degradation rates of polyaromatics under simulated environmental conditions and to decrease potential health hazards associated with the polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and N-heterocyclic aromatic (NHA) biodegradation products. The goal is to improve upon biodegradation and mineralization for the elimination of polyaromatic compounds and their metabolites from polluted soils. The specific aims include isolation of organisms that degrade the multi-ring PAHs and NHAs from gasification sites under study using analog enrichment techniques; use of isolated degraders of 2, 3, and 4 ring compounds; determination of the effect carcinogenic metals have on the biodegradation of PAHs by isolated 2, 3, and 4 ring degraders; determination of the extent that 2, 3, and 4 ring degrader isolates further degrade stable biodegradation (and photoxidized) products of PAH/NHA in incubations that mimic preexposure conditions; evaluation of the potential for cytogenic damage by biodegradation or photodegredation products; and examination of the health benefit of biodegradation.

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