Impact of methylene chloride on microorganisms and phenanthrene mineralization in soil

Egbert Schwartz, Sinh V. Trinh, Kate M. Scow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effects of the quantity of methylene chloride, used as a carrier solvent for phenanthrene when added to soil, on phenanthrene mineralization kinetics, soil phospholipid fatty acid profiles (PLFA), and phenanthrene distribution. Methylene chloride dosages of 25 μL/g soil or more resulted in an enrichment of saturated PLFAs, suggesting soil microorganisms had adjusted their cell membranes in response to the solvent. A greater fraction of phenanthrene mineralized when spiked in 5 μL/g than in 25 μL/g methylene chloride suggesting that the methylene chloride became toxic to phenanthrene-degrading organisms in soil. Phenanthrene was more equally distributed among 0.1 g soil subsamples if spiked in 25 than 5 or 1 μL methylene chloride per gram soil. Thus the amount of methylene chloride used to spike phenanthrene in soil strongly impacted the mineralization kinetics, phenanthrene distribution, and microbial community in soil. Because a variety of spiking methods are used in biodegradation research, scientists should consider the quantity of solvents used when comparing results among different studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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