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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


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

Project summary

The goal of the project #3067.2 is to determine main process variables of PCB microbial degradation in soil and silts in situ and develop Standing Order for PCB-contaminated soil and silt bioremediation.

United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) refers polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the 12 most dangerous and difficult degradable pollutants of the environment, which were widely used in electrical and chemical industry. According to Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) «…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 difficult to degrade due to their high resistance to chemical, biological and photolytic degradation. Spreading in the world because of being widely used in industry and their physicochemical properties these persistent organic pollutants do harm to people’s health even where they have never been used.

Nowadays remediation of soils contaminated by PCBs is carried out by physicochemical methods: treatment with sorbents, incineration, soil washing with solvents, contaminated soil disposal on special grounds, sodium dechlorination, and ultra-violet irradiation.

All the methods are only used at specially certified enterprises and polygons. All the mentioned methods result 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. Besides, the method is comparatively cheap and needs no special facilities. The only drawback of the method is its temperature dependence as biodegradation can only be carried out in warm seasons in several stages depending on soil contamination level.

In the result of earlier conducted works on the ISTC Projects # 228 and # 2093 microorganisms-PCB degraders were isolated, deposited in All-Russian Collection of Microorganisms, and patented in Russia and the USA. As field testing proved microorganisms are capable of active PCB degradation in soil, and basic technology for PCB-contaminated soil bioremediation in situ has been developed.

The field trials results, however, do not characterize the bioremediation process itself. Many important questions remain unsolved. To develop full-scale technology for PCB-contaminated soils and silts bioremediation it is essential to optimize the technology for bioremediation process, determine the conditions for conducting bioremediation within optimal and shortest terms with maximal efficacy, and study the dynamics of soil bioremediation process: studies of PCB quantitative and qualitative content change dynamics in soils and silts as well as study of dynamics in microorganisms-degraders’ concentration change in soils and silts in the course of bioremediation. It is important to determine the pattern of introduction of microorganisms-degraders in soil – single at the beginning of summer remediation season or multiple (possibly – 3 times, i.e. once a month or more often). It is also necessary to determine optimal initial concentration of microorganisms-degraders, etc.

The technology is needed at all places, where soil is contaminated with PCBs, including Canadian provinces, similar to Russian in climatic and soil characteristics, which have alike problems with PCB-contaminated areas.

In 2005-2006 the Canadian Party funded the Project Development Grant for further works on PCB-contaminated soil bioremediation technology.

Within this project the Final #3067.2 Project Work Plan was prepared and approved by the Collaborators. Doctor Carl E. Brown (Emergencies Science and Technology Environment Canada), Phil Fellin (AirZone One, Inc) and Doctor Barbara Zeeb (Environmental Sciences Group Royal Military College), the representatives of the Canadian Party, took active part in the Work Plan drawing-up.

In the result of discussions of the 2 previously conducted projects data with Canadian colleagues it was decided to continue the work.

Activities to fulfill the tasks of the Project will include:

  • studies of PCB contaminated soils and silts on experimental site (Task 1);
  • bioremediation of experimental sites contaminated by PCBs (Task 2);
  • studies of the dynamics of qualitative and quantitative parameters of PCBs decomposition in soil in situ (Tasks 3 and 4);
  • obtained results processing in order to optimize biotechnology (Task 5).

Within the Project research on PCB degradation in soil in situ is planned to be conducted on the chosen before test-ground, which will be PCB-contaminated soil and silts of Borovlyanka stream. The sites will be located nearby the previously used test fields as recommended by the Collaborators.

Field testing, which will be pided into two stages to be held for 2 years from May to September.

At the 1st research stage the following study will be conducted:

  1. Microorganisms- PVB degraders content in soil during the process of bioremediation;
  2. PCB degradation dynamics in soil during the process of bioremediation.

The experiment is aimed to determine the minimal amount of microorganisms in soil sufficient for bioremediation and, consequently, the time for next microorganisms’ introduction in soil.

At the 2nd research stage dependence of PCB degradation ion soil form concentration of introduced microbial suspension of microorganisms-PCB degraders will be determined.

Research will aim to determine the amount of microorganisms-degraders to be introduced in soil for effective bioremediation.

The obtained research results will allow optimizing PCB-contaminated soils and silts bioremediation technique and determining bioremediation conditions most efficiently in the shortest possible time.

Expected Results and Their Application

This Project refers to applied research. Optimal parameters for PCB degradation in contaminated soils and silts will be determined on the basis of multistage field tests and laboratory analyses to optimize bioremediation technique.

Such biotechnology will help to carry out bioremediation of contaminated soil areas and create active ecological protection zones in places of PCB storage and destruction, which corresponds to Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants purposes and tasks.

During the ISTC #3067.2 Project implementation the following results are expected:

  • Dynamics of change of microorganisms-PCB degraders content in soil and silts during bioremediation will be determined;
  • PCB composition in soil and silts of the test plots will be qualitatively and quantitatively assessed in the process of bioremediation;
  • Technology for PCB-contaminated soils bioremediation will be optimized in the course of the Project implementation.

Group of creative-minded qualified researchers and specialists in various areas 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 use of biotechnologies for xenobiotic-contaminated soil reclaiming. Project executives have necessary laboratory facilities and state accreditation for research. Sampling and sample analysis will be conducted according to EPA protocols.


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