In this study, solubilization of PAHs from a manufactured gas plant (MGP) soil and two artificially spiked soils using fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) was investigated. PAH removals from both the MGP and the spiked soils by FAME, methanol, soybean oil, hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin, Triton X-100, and Tween 80 were compared. The effect of FAME:MGP soil ratios on PAH removals was also investigated. Results showed that the FAME mixture synthesized by our lab was more efficient than the cyclodextrin and the two surfactants used for PAH removal from the spiked soils with individual PAH concentrations of 200 and 400 mg kg(-1). However, the difference among three PAH removals by the FAME, soybean oil and methanol was not quite pronounced. The FAME synthesized and market biodiesel exhibited better performance for PAH removals (46% and 35% of total PAH) from the weathered contaminated MGP soil when compared with the other agents (0-31%). Individual PAH removals from the weathered MGP soil were much lower than those from the spiked soils. The percentages of total PAH removals from the MGP soil were 59%, 46%, and 51% for the FAME:MGP soil ratios of 1:2, 1:1, and 2:1, respectively. These results showed that the FAME could be a more attractive alternative to conventional surfactants in ex situ washing of PAH-contaminated soils.
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