Bioremediation of poly-aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminated soil (by composting)

Nadine Loicka, Phil J. Hobbsb, Mike D. C. Halea, Davey L. Jonesa

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54 Citations (SciVal)


This paper presents a comprehensive and critical review of research on different co-composting approaches to bioremediate hydrocarbon contaminated soil, organisms that have been found to degrade PAHs, and PAH breakdown products. Advantages and limitations of using certain groups of organisms and recommended areas of further research effort are identified. Studies investigating the use of composting techniques to treat contaminated soil are broad ranging and differ in many respects, which makes comparison of the different approaches very difficult. Many studies have investigated the use of specific bio-additives in the form of bacteria or fungi with the aim of accelerating contaminant removal; however, few have employed microbial consortia containing organisms from both kingdoms despite knowledge suggesting synergistic relationships exist between them in contaminant removal. Recommendations suggest that further studies should attempt to systemize the investigations of composting approaches to bio-remediate PAH-contaminated soil, to focus on harnessing the biodegradative capacity of both bacteria and fungi to create a cooperative environment for PAH degradation, and to further investigate the array of PAHs that can be lost during the composting process by either leaching or volatilization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-332
Number of pages62
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2009


  • bio-degradation
  • soil-pollution
  • micro-organisms
  • soil treatment methods


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