Description: Several researchers have demonstrated the transformation if polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. This transformation, or conversion, is characteristic and often dependent on PCB congener structure and in addition, dictates the products or endpoints. Since transformation is linked to microbial activities, bioremediation has been hailed as a possible solution for PCB-contaminated soils and sediments, and several demonstration activities have verified laboratory results. This paper presents results from mathematical modeling of PCB transformation as a means of predicting possible endpoints of bioremediation. Since transformation can be influenced by both starting composition of the PCBs and microbial activity, this paper systematically evaluates several of the most common transformation patterns. The predicted data are also compared with experimental results. For example, the correlation between laboratory-observed and predicted endpoint data was, in some cases, as good as 0.98 (perfect correlation = 1.0). In addition to predicting chemical endpoints, the possible human effects of the PCBs are discussed through the use of documented dioxin-like toxicity and accumulation in humans before and after transformation.
Date: December 7, 1999
Creator: Just, E.M. & Klasson, T.
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