The impact of whole digestate (WD) and its fractions (solid [SD] and liquid [LD]) on 14C-phenanthrene mineralization in soil over 90 d contact time was investigated. The 14C-phenanthrene spiked soil was aged for 1, 30, 60 and 90 d. Analysis of water-soluble nitrogen, phosphorus, total (organic and inorganic) carbon, and quantitative bacterial count were conducted at each time point to assess their impact on mineralization of 14C-phenanthrene in soils. Indigenous catabolic activity (total extents, maximum rates and lag phases) of 14C-phenanthrene mineralization were measured using respirometric soil slurry assay. The soil amended with WD outperformed the SD and LD fractions as well as showed a shorter lag phase, higher rate and extent of mineralization throughout the study. The digestates improved (P < 0.05) the microbial population and nutritive content of the soil. However, findings showed that spiking soil with phenanthrene generally reduced the growth of microbial populations from 1 to 90 d and gave a lower nutritive content in comparison with the non-spiked soil. Also, soil fertility and bacteria count were major factors driving 14C-phenanthrene mineralization. Particularly, the non-phenanthrene degraders positively influenced the cumulative mineralization of 14C-phenanthrene after 60 d incubation. Therefore, the digestates (residue from anaerobic digestion) especially WD, which enhanced 14C-phenanthrene mineralization of the soil without minimal basal salts medium nor additional degraders should be further exploited for sustainable bioremediation of PAHs contaminated soil.
- Soil fertility