Indigenous 14C-phenanthrene biodegradation in “pristine” woodland and grassland soils from Norway and the United Kingdom
In this study, the indigenous microbial mineralisation of 14C-phenanthrene in seven background soils (four from Norwegian woodland and three from the UK (two grasslands and one woodland)) was investigated. ∑PAHs ranged from 16.39 to 285.54 ng g−1 dw soil. Lag phases (time before 14C-phenanthrene mineralisation reached 5%) were longer in all of the Norwegian soils and correlated positively with TOC, but negatively with ∑PAHs and phenanthrene degraders for all soils. 14C-phenanthrene mineralisation in the soils varied due to physicochemical properties. The results show that indigenous microorganisms can adapt to 14C-phenanthrene mineralisation following diffuse PAH contamination. Considering the potential of soil as a secondary PAH source, these findings highlight the important role of indigenous microflora in the processing of PAHs in the environment.