Document Detail

Effects of ethanol-based fuel contamination: microbial community changes, production of regulated compounds, and methane generation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20481624     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Ethanol-based fuels are becoming more heavily used, increasing the likelihood of ethanol-based fuel spills during transportation and storage. Although ethanol is well-known to be readily biodegradable, very little is known about the effects that such a spill might have on an indigenous microbial community. Of particular concern is that ethanol contamination could stimulate the growth of organisms that can generate regulated compounds and/or produce explosive quantities of methane gas. A column-based study was performed to elucidate the potential impacts of ethanol-based fuel (E85) on the indigenous microbial community during a simulated fuel spill. A continuous dilute supply of E85 resulted in profound shifts in both the bacterial and archaeal communities. The shift was accompanied by the production of high concentrations of volatile fatty acids and butanol, a compound that is regulated in groundwater by some states. Results also indicated that a continuous feed of dilute E85 generated explosive levels of methane within one month of column operation. Quantitative PCR data showed a statistically significant increase in methanogenic populations when compared to a control column. The elevated population numbers correlated to areas of the column receiving a sustained carbon load. Toxicity data indicated that microbial growth was completely inhibited (as evidenced by absence of ethanol breakdown products) at ethanol levels above 6% (v/v). These data suggest that ethanol from ethanol-based fuel can be readily degraded, but can also produce metabolic products that are regulated as well as explosive levels of methane. The core of an E85 spill may serve as a long-term source of contamination as it cannot be degraded until significant dilution has occurred.
Denice K Nelson; Timothy M Lapara; Paige J Novak
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental science & technology     Volume:  44     ISSN:  0013-936X     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Sci. Technol.     Publication Date:  2010 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-11     Completed Date:  2010-08-06     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0213155     Medline TA:  Environ Sci Technol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  4525-30     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, 500 Pillsbury Drive Southeast, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55455, USA.
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MeSH Terms
1-Butanol / analysis
Archaea / genetics,  growth & development*,  metabolism
Bacteria / genetics,  growth & development*,  metabolism
Biodegradation, Environmental
Biofuels / analysis*
Environmental Pollution / analysis*
Ethanol / analysis*
Gene Dosage
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
Methane / analysis*
Time Factors
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Biofuels; 64-17-5/Ethanol; 71-36-3/1-Butanol; 74-82-8/Methane

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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