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Russia has found a way to reduce the toxicity of oil-contaminated soil

  • 11 April, 10:13
  • Author: admin
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Vyatka State University scientists, together with Russian colleagues, found that peat gel can reduce the toxicity of soils contaminated with oil products. This is especially true when eliminating the consequences of local pollution in oil production areas or near gas stations.

Peat gel is a biologically active substance based on peat, which is used in agriculture to improve soil properties and increase its fertility. Recent studies have found that peat gel also significantly reduces soil toxicity from potential contamination, such as oil spills.

Scientists from Vyatka State University (VyatSU) conducted a model laboratory experiment: they added gasoline in the amount of 1%, 5%, 10% of the soil mass, based on dry weight, into the soddy-podzolic soil characteristic of central Russia.

"Peat was added to one part of the prototypes, 50 percent of the dry weight. In other samples, 5 percent of peat gel was added based on the dry weight of the soil. Further, the control soil and the soil with additives were cultivated for 30 days, then the residual content of oil products and the toxicity of the soil were determined by the responses of living organisms (daphnia Daphnia magna Straus, paramecium caudatum Ehrenberg ciliates, Escherichia coli bacteria)" —

said Anna Olkova, professor of the Department of Ecology and Nature Management of Vyatka State University.

The results of the experiment showed that the introduction of only 5 percent of peat gel into the soil gives the same effect as the introduction of 50 percent of pure peat. According to the researchers, soil treatment with peat gel can increase its barrier properties and reduce the risk of pollution migration to nearby water bodies.

Previously, it was known that peat and solid peat sorbents based on it have the properties described above, but their use is technologically less convenient. Liquid peat gel is introduced into the soil more evenly, while there is no need to loosen the soil and deepen the sorbent, and then it does not need to be removed from the soil. This is the novelty of the proposed technology for reducing the toxicity of contaminated soil.

It should be noted that the introduction of peat gel into the soil contaminated with oil products is not aimed at cleaning it, but at reducing its toxicity due to the sorption binding of toxic substances. This will help contain the spread of pollution "spots" and reduce the toxic load on biota (living organisms).

The development can form the basis for the creation of a technology for protecting the soil cover in places of production and potential oil spills, including at gas stations.

In the future, scientists plan to find out the sorption and protective properties of peat gel in the field, including at elevated levels of pollution with oil products and other substances.

The work was based on the research of Nadezhda Syrchina, a senior researcher at the Biomonitoring Laboratory of the Vyatka State University and the Komi Scientific Center of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and her colleagues at Vyatka State University.

Translated by Artemy Sizov


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