Acetate and ethanol as potential enhancers of low temperature denitrification in soil contaminated by fur farms: a pilot-scale study

J Hazard Mater. 2009 Apr 30;163(2-3):1230-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.07.092. Epub 2008 Jul 29.


Ethanol and acetate were examined as potential candidates to enhance denitrification at low temperature in soils contaminated by fur farms. Five pilot-scale sand and gravel columns with a top layer of soil from a fur farm were set up and fed with nitrate-containing water (influent concentration of 100 and 200 mg L(-1)) for 459 days at 6+/-2 degrees C. Two of the columns also received acetate and two other ethanol while one received no additional C-substrate. During the experiment, various C:N-ratios were tested to find the most optimal concentration of the added C-substrates, and effluent concentrations of nitrate, nitrite, and TOC were monitored. At the end of the experiments, soils in the columns were unpacked and the soils were used to measure a pattern of enzyme activities and the rates of denitrification in microcosms. The fur farm contaminated soil appeared to harbour a good intrinsic potential for denitrification, which could be greatly enhanced by the introduction of ethanol or acetate. Consequently, in the C-substrate-fed columns, 95-100% of the influent nitrate was removed after an acclimatization period of some weeks. Ethanol with C:N-ratio of ca. 6 at the nitrate level 200 mg L(-1) proved to be the most promising candidate to be used in field trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Cold Temperature
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Nitrates / isolation & purification*
  • Nitrites / isolation & purification
  • Soil Pollutants / isolation & purification*


  • Acetates
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Ethanol