Anaerobic BTEX biodegradation was tested in batch experiments using an anaerobic sediment as inoculum under Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reducing conditions. All BTEX were degraded under the conditions tested, specially under Mn(IV) reducing conditions, where benzene was degraded at a rate of 0.8 μmol l-1d-1, significantly much faster than Fe(III) reducing conditions. Under Fe(III) reducing conditions, ethylbenzene was the compound that degraded at the faster rate of 0.19 μmol l-1d-1. Mn(IV) reducing conditions are energetically more favourable than Fe(III), therefore, BTEX were more rapidly degraded under Mn(IV) reducing conditions. These results represent the first report of the degradation of benzene with Mn(IV) as the final electron acceptor. Amorphous manganese oxide is a natural widely distributed metal in groundwater, where it can be microbiologically reduced, leading to the degradation of monoaromatic compounds.

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