Evaluation of the Natural Biodegradation of Jet Fuel JP-8 in Various Soils Using Respirometry

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Charles Bleckmann, PhD


This research effort used an automated respirometer to evaluate the intrinsic aerobic biodegradation potential of jet fuel JP-8 in various types of natural soils. Four replications of a complete factorial design experiment were accomplished using three levels of fuel and three types of soil in a three by three matrix of treatments. Laboratory microcosms were prepared containing the treatments, using the soils in a close to natural state, and allowed to react for fourteen days. A two-way ANOVA test on the experimental data demonstrated a strong positive correlation between the amount of fuel biodegraded with the initial level of fuel and also with the clay content of the soil. Interaction effects were also observed between the two factors. The continuous oxygen uptake rate curves were used to follow biodegradation of the fuel through the various steps of biological growth. The biokinetics of the observed reactions could be inferred from the oxygen rate curves. Analyses of soil nutrient consumption and the predicted ratio of oxygen uptake to carbon dioxide production were also done. Regression analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in nitrates in microcosms with higher initial levels of fuel.

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