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Your Environment. Your Health.

June 2022 Superfund Research Program Science Digest

Superfund Research Program Science Digest
Balancing Scientific Excellence with Research Relevance

Technology Profile

Activated carbon pellets applied in the field
The technology is made up of activated carbon pellets inoculated with microorganisms (right), which can be applied in the field using an air horn (left).  (Photo courtesy of RemBac Environmental)

NIEHS Superfund Research Program-funded small business RemBac Environmental, LLC., developed a remediation technology to treat sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls  (PCBs). The technology uses activated carbon pellets containing microorganisms to degrade PCBs in sediments. The microorganisms include both anaerobic, that don't require oxygen for growth, and aerobic, that require oxygen, species. These microorganisms target PCBs by removing chlorine from the molecule and breaking the biphenyl rings.

The activated carbon pellets are an innovative way to store microbes long-term and promote their growth on a larger scale when deploying them at a site.

Technology Activated carbon pellets inoculated with anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms.
Innovation The activated carbon pellets easily deliver microorganisms across large areas of contaminated sediment to both sequester and degrade PCBs. This in-situ treatment method allows for large-scale remediation, increasing the applicability to sites with expansive contamination. Additionally, the activated carbon pellets provide a viable vehicle for the large-scale growth and long-term storage of the microbes.
Contaminant and Media PCBs in sediment
Technology Readiness Level TRL 5 – Technology validated in relevant environment 
Principal Investigator Craig Bennett Amos, Ph.D.
Institution RemBac Environmental, LLC
Grant Number R43ES032365