The capability of microorganisms to degrade a great variety of xenobiotic compounds in laboratory cultures is in contrast to their frequent failure to remediate soils and aquifers. The most probable explanation is the low bioavailability of the chemicals in the natural environment. An overview is given of recent studies, which attempt to identify the processes by which chemical are withheld from active soil microorganisms. To unravel the complexity of natural soils, individual features of subsurface systems were mimicked using defined materials. The results of these experiments gave evidence for the unavailability of solid, liquid, sorbed, and micelle-solubilized chemicals, the substrate deficiency of bacteria associated with non-sorbing surfaces, and the enhanced transfer of volatile chemicals in the presence of a gas phase. The studies furthermore indicated the dependence of active populations on the mass transfer capacity of their habitat.
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- The Use of Laboratory Model Systems to Elucidate the Mechanisms of Bioavailability of Hydrophobic Organic Compounds
- Springer Netherlands