Salt marsh ecosystems in Louisiana are at high risk of an oil contamination event while remediation of these systems is mainly limited to intrinsic bioremediation due to the physical sensitivity of salt marshes. This study investigated both the intrinsic and nutrient enhanced rates of crude oil degradation both in microcosm and core studies. In addition, limiting elements, loading rates and optimum nitrogen forms (NH4/+ or NO3/-) were determined. Salt marshes have relatively low intrinsic degradation rates (0-3.9% day-1) of the alkane component (C11-C44) but high rates (8-16% day-1) of degradation of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) fraction (naphthalene, C1, and C2-Naphthalene and Phenanthrene, C1, and C2-Phenanthrene). Additions of nitrogen statistically enhanced degradation of many alkanes and total PAHs while naturally present phosphorous was found to be sufficient. Nitrogen was found to be most effective if applied as NH4/+ in the range of 100-500-N mg kg-1 of soil producing a pore water range of 100-670-N mg L-1. Core studies indicate that similar trends are observed when applying fertilizers to intact portions of salt marsh.
- Crude oil
- Salt marshes