BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR CLEANING UP SOILS FROM EXPLOSIVES
1Georgian National Academy of Sciences, Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Tbilisi, Georgia
Nauka naukozn. 2023, 1(119): 47—56
Section: Science of Ukraine in the context of contemporary challenges and threats: problems and priorities of development (summaries and scientific reports of the international symposium)
Abstract: This article discusses the issue of environmental pollution caused by explosives. Nitro-organic substances (trotyl, hexogen, etc.), as well as highly toxic carcinogenic compounds contaminate the soil, groundwater and reservoirs at sites of military activities. Due to their composition and stable structure, explosives basically do not undergo complete natural transformations under biotic conditions even for decades, often getting into the food chain causing serious pathologies. The presented investigation is based on use of a collection of microorganisms, comprising up to 8 thousand strains of bacteria, filamentous fungi, actinomycetes, isolated from various soil and climatic zones and locations of the former Soviet military units, including shooting ranges. Model experiments were conducted in a lab, and small field conditions (100 m2). At the first stage, selectively chosen rhizospheric microorganisms, known by their predominantly determined detoxification activity, were introduced into the soil contaminated with explosives, to carry out the primary transformation of explosives, transforming into more hydrophilic and less toxic compounds for further transformation. At the second stage, plants were sown on soil that was artificially contaminated with explosives, and then treated by selected microorganisms. These plants assimilated, carried out further degradation of toxic components and products of their partial transformation, and transformed partially degraded explosives into above ground parts or mineralized them. At the third stage, plants containing toxicity were treated with microscopic fungi which had powerful extracellular enzyme systems that degrade the remaining part of toxic components. As a result, it has been established that in 30—45 days, i.e. within one summer season, it is possible to achieve 70—80 % soil clearance from toxic compounds. The biotechnology itself is environmentally friendly and is based on the use of non-toxic forms of microorganisms that are isolated from the soil.
Keywords: pollutants, contaminated soils, explosives, phytoremediation, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), hexogen (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine-RDX).
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