Applying Innovative Diagnostic Tools at New Jersey Publicly Funded Sites: Research Project Summary



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Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health


This project demonstrated the use of Environmental Molecular Diagnostic Tools (EMDs) for detecting microbial biodegradation of contaminants and identifying bacteria responsible for contaminant biodegradation or biotransformation at three contaminated sites in New Jersey. These sites were unique based on the contamination present, and EMDs were selected to address a particular issue at each site. EMDs is a collective term that describes a group of advanced and emerging techniques used to analyze biological and chemical characteristics of soils, sediments, groundwater, and surface water. Many of these tools were originally developed for applications in medicine, defense, and industry. Over the last decade, great advances have been made in adapting and applying EMDs for site characterization, remediation, monitoring, and closure. EMDs are important and valuable because they can provide key information not available using traditional analytical methods (e.g., groundwater analysis for volatile organic compounds). While they are intended to complement these traditional methods, EMDs can bring a new perspective to all stages in the environmental management decision-making process. As a result of this work, a bio-augmentation/bio-stimulation design was developed for an organic solvent plume at one site. At a second site, Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) was used to confirm the presence of dehalogenating organisms and bio-stimulation demonstrated rapid reductive dechlorination. Finally, aniline degrading organisms were studied using SIP. Aniline biodegradation was demonstrated and the specific bacteria responsible for biodegradation were identified.


Prepared by Robert Mueller.


New Jersey