Simulation of Two-Column Experiments on Anaerobic Degradation of Toluene and Xylene

Wolfgang Schäfer, Rainer U. Meckenstock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Simulations with a numerical reactive multispecies transport model were performed for two soil column experiments on anaerobic degradation of toluene and o-xylene. The aim of the numerical modelling was to identify relevant interactions of the two degradation processes. Our findings indicated that o-xylene degradation was partly inhibited by toluene degradation but it was not possible to decide if o-xylene degradation was inhibited directly by toluene or by a special inhibitor produced during toluene degradation. However, the simulations clearly suggested that the two degradation processes were carried out by two different organisms. The parameters of the biochemical model calibrated during a first experiment could be successfully transferred to the simulation of a second experiment with only a slight change in the inhibition constant. Modelling of the second experiment raised the assumption that throughout the course of the experiment the o-xylene degradation in the soil column became more and more tolerant towards elevated toluene levels.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeochemical Processes
Subtitle of host publicationConceptual Models for Reactive Transport in Soil and Groundwater. Research Report
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783527609703
ISBN (Print)3527277641, 9783527277643
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2007


  • Anaerobic degradation of toluene and xylene
  • Model calibration
  • Set-up of soil columns
  • Set-up of the numerical model
  • Simulation of two-column experiments


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