An in situ measuring system of respiration rate was applied for monitoring biodegradation of diesel fuel in a bioventing process for bioremediation of diesel contaminated soil. Two laboratory-scale soil columns were packed with 5 kg of soil that was artificially contaminated by diesel fuel as final TPH (total petroleum hydrocarbon) concentration of 8,000 mg/kg soil. Nutrient was added to make a relative concentration of C:N:P = 100:10:1. One soil column was operated with continuous venting mode, and the other one with intermittent (6 h venting/6 h rest) venting mode. On-line O2 and CO2 gas measuring system was applied to measure O2 utilisation and CO2 production during biodegradation of diesel for 5 months. Biodegradation rate of TPH was calculated from respiration rate measured by the on-line gas measuring system. There were no apparent differences between calculated biodegradation rates from two columns with different venting modes. The variation of biodegradation rates corresponded well with trend of the remaining TPH concentrations comparing other biodegradation indicators, such as C17/pristane and C18/phytane ratio, dehydrogenase activity, and the ratio of hydrocarbon utilising bacteria to total heterotrophic bacteria. These results suggested that the on-line measuring system of respiration rate would be applied to monitoring biodegradation rate and to determine the potential applicability of bioventing process for bioremediation of oil contaminated soil.

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