Demonstrate benzene degradation with DNA techniques

We know more and more about microbiology. DNA detection equipment is becoming cheaper, so that more and more new bacterial species and their degradation processes are discovered.

For example, Dutch scientists recently discovered a gene that specifically breaks down benzene under oxygen-free conditions. For a long time it was doubted whether benzene degradation without oxygen, ie deep in the soil, is at all possible. Over the past six months we have worked hard at Orvion to be able to demonstrate these benzene degradation genes with DNA techniques. We can now measure 5 genes that demonstrate natural anaerobic degradation of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes and intermediates. We have now been able to demonstrate the anaerobic degradation of benzene and naphthalene at various gas factory sites and an old asphalt factory in the Netherlands using DNA techniques.

The more we know about natural degradation processes, the more effective we can make soil remediation. With microbiological information (DNA or RNA from groundwater) it can be substantiated for large sites which source zones must be remediated quickly and thoroughly and which not. After all: if the good genes are present and active, then nature does its job and we do not have to intervene with expensive measures that can also be harmful to the environment and in which substances such as benzene can be released.

The greatest risk for soil remediation is that too large or premature conclusions are drawn on the basis of too little data. So: measuring = knowing = saving on remediation.

Other themes

Recent publications

Degradation of PFAS by the superbacterium Acidimicrobium
In-situ soil remediation within one year
Biological remediation of chlorinated ethenes