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Bioremediation of Soils on the Territory of Serpukhov


Conduction of Bioremediation of Soils Contaminated by Polychlorinated Biphenyls on the Territory of Serpukhov

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-REM/Bioremediation/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Visser H

Leading Institute
Research Center of Toxicology and Hygienic Regulation of Biopreparations, Russia, Moscow reg., Serpukhov

Supporting institutes

  • Scientific & Production Association “Typhoon”, Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk


  • Emergencies Science and Technology Division Environment Canada, Canada, ON, Ottawa\nAirZone One, Inc., Canada, ON, Mississauga\nEnvironmental Sciences Group, Canada, ON, Kingston

Project summary

Project research aim consists in evaluation of microbe PCB degradation efficacy in soils and silts in situ.

Ecological structure ООН UNEP Chemicals refers polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the 12 most dangerous and hardly degradable pollutants of the environment, which were widely used in electrical and chemical industry. According to Stockholm convention «…measures must be taken so that persistent organic pollutants (including PCBs) should be destroyed or irreversibly transformed (and not reveal the properties of persistent organic pollutants)…».

In natural conditions they are hardly degradable due to their high resistance to chemical, biological and photolytic degradation. Spreading in the world because of being widely used in industry and their physico-chemical properties these persistent organic pollutants do harm to people’s health even where they have never been used.

PCBs have been produced since 1930s and have been used mostly in electrical industry. Their natural formation has not been registered. Due to PCBs toxicity and bioaccumulation ability their industrial usage has been banned since 1978 except for already produced transformers and condensers.

PCBs are polytropic toxins effecting nearly all human organs and systems, WHO data witness that people are the most sensitive to them. So, since the beginning of 1980s production of these dangerous compounds has been reduced. Now works for their systematic destruction are carried out but the problem of PCBs in the environment is still not solved because of their high chemical and biological inertness.

Nowadays remediation of soils contaminated by PCBs is carried out by physico-chemical methods, which results in negative soils properties changes and their secondary pollution. Alternative method is method of microbe PCB degradation, which helps not only to decrease PCB concentration in soil but also to minimize harmful effect to the environment.

The city of Serpukhov with the population over 138 thousand people is a typical industrial city of middle Russia. Over 50 industrial enterprises of different kind are located here. PCB contamination of the area is problem number one in the city of Serpukhov. Source of contamination has been found out - Scientific-and-Production Association “Condensator” was using polychlorinated biphenyls in condenser production since early 1960s. Great amounts of PCBs have been emitted in the environment for 30 years of production in the result of technology imperfection and difficulty of laboratory control.

Research detected that soil of nearly all the district Zabor’e, where SPA “Condensator” is located, is contaminated by PCBs in different degrees. Total level of low- and highly chlorinated biphenyl concentration in soil is hundreds thousand times over determined OPC.

Extremely dangerous ecological situation Serpukhov necessitates remediation of the areas decontaminated by PCBs. In the result of earlier conducted works on ISTC Projects # 228 and # 2093 the technique was developed and microorganisms-PCB degraders were isolated, capable of active PCB degradation in soil in situ, as field testing proved.

Within Project work research of PCB degradation dynamics in soil in situ is planned to be conducted on the 2 chosen before grounds, one ground will be PCB contaminated soil, the other- contaminated silts of Borovlyanka stream.

Microorganisms-PCB degraders Alcaligenus latus TXD-13 and Hansenula californica AT will be introduced in soil and silts and then, 2 weeks later, soil and silt samples will be examined for PCB congeners and microorganisms-PCB degraders amount in them. The research should be carried out for 2 years in period from April to November.

The obtained research results will allow optimizing PCB contaminated soils and silts bioremediation technique and determining bioremediation conditions for shortest possible time with maximal efficacy.

Group of creative-minded qualified researchers and specialists of every description, who have modern experimental facilities at their disposal and who are experienced in scientific and technical co-operation, may only accomplish the above-mentioned scientific and practical tasks. The group of researchers – Project participants consists of ecologists, microbiologists, biochemists and analytical chemists. They have considerable experience of joint work on development and application of xenobiotic contaminated soil recultivation biotechnology. Project executives have necessary laboratory facilities and state accreditation for research. Sampling and sample analysis will be conducted according to EPA protocols.

As all Project responsible executives from RCT&HRB and SPA “Typhoon” were involved in creation of protection against biological and chemical weapons, The Project answers to ISTC purposes and tasks fully. Experimental data obtained by the Project could be used for PCB contaminated areas remediation both in Russia and other countries. It will help to carry out the above-mentioned Stockholm Convention, which also corresponds to ISTC purposes and tasks.

Foreign collaborators could participate in Project in such basic ways as:

- advisory activity in soil bioremediation processes optimization;

- workshops to discuss the results of separate completed Project stages;
- meetings at conferences and personal visits of the collaborators to discuss problems of common interests.


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