Terrestrial environment

Characterization of contamination, source and degradation of petroleum between upland and paddy fields based on geochemical characteristics and phospholipid fatty acids

Juan Zhang , Renqing Wang , Xiaoming Du , Fasheng Li , Jiulan Dai


Received January 05, 2012,Revised June 04, 2012, Accepted , Available online November 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 1995-2003

To evaluate contamination caused by petroleum, surface soil samples were collected from both upland and paddy fields along the irrigation canals in the Hunpu wastewater irrigation region in northeast China. N-alkanes, terpanes, steranes, and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) in the surface soil samples were analyzed. The aliphatic hydrocarbon concentration was highest in the samples obtained from the upland field near an operational oil well; it was lowest at I-3P where wastewater irrigation promoted the downward movement of hydrocarbons. The Hunpu region was found contaminated by heavy petroleum from oxic lacustrine fresh water or marine deltaic source rocks. Geochemical parameters also indicated significantly heavier contamination and degradation in the upland fields compared with the paddy fields. Principal component analysis based on PLFA showed various microbial communities between petroleum contaminated upland and paddy fields. Gram-negative bacteria indicated by 15:0, 3OH 12:0, and 16:1(9) were significantly higher in the paddy fields, whereas Gram-positive bacteria indicated by i16:0 and 18:1(9)c were significantly higher in the upland fields (p < 0.05). These PLFAs were related to petroleum contamination. Poly-unsaturated PLFA (18:2ωup6, 9; indicative of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and fungi) was also significantly elevated in the upland fields. This paper recommends more sensitive indicators of contamination and degradation of petroleum in soil. The results also provide guidelines on soil pollution control and remediation in the Hunpu region and other similar regions.

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