Technology to detoxicate herbicides/ dioxin infected soil by bioremediation

From 1999 to 2009, scientists from The Institute of Biotechnology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, researched several technologies to detoxicate dioxin infected soil by bioremediation at old military bases in the central city of Da Nang. The results show that in laboratories or pilot fields from 0.5 to 100 cubic metres, the pasteurization effectiveness reached from 40 to 100 pgTEQ per day.

In April, 2009, a detoxication by bioremediation was conducted in positive burring lots of 3384 cubic metres in old military bases of the US in Bien Hoa city, the southern province of Dong Nai, under a project on detoxication presided over by the Ministry of National Defence.

In May 2009, scientists from the institute continued to carry out the project in coordination with the US Department on Environmental Protection from the expenditure of the Ford Foundation, piloting at the scale of 2 cubic metres with 11 different formulas in old military bases in Da Nang city.

The project aims to design and effectively perform the anaerobic process of dioxin disintegration microorganism, weed clearing substance from the beginning to six months of treatment by the diagonal assessing of the change of toxic chemicals in four laboratories, including EPA (the US), EUROFINS (Germany), a dioxin analysis laboratory under the Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence, and BDS (the Netherlands). It also aims to provide key technical designs to choose the formation for anaerobic treatment, and optimize bioremediation technology to apply biological technology on the scene.


Treating dioxin pollution in Da Nang


This is the first research cooperation between Vietnamese scientists and the US ones on dioxin pollution treatment technology in hot spots in central and southern Vietnam. For Vietnam, the project is carried out by the researchers’ group on treating Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) under the Institute of Biotechnology, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology led by Associate Professor, Doctor Dang Thi Cam Ha and the participation of several cadres from the Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence. The U.S sent two scientists, Professor Harry Allen and Vance Fong to cooperate with Vietnamese partners to carry out the project and access the effectiveness of detoxication treatment.

With deep experience in this field, standard and modern methods were applied to access the bioremediation implemented by microorganism, and the effectiveness of rejecting dioxin and other pollution chemicals in treatment samples.

After the implementation, the cooperation pilot project between the Vietnamese and American scientists obtained achievements which can be briefed as follows:

•    The dioxin bioremediation treating aerobic and anaerobic (positive bury) obtained the average speed of 100 ppt or 10 pg TEQ per day. Anaerobic disintegration is one half lower than aerobic.
•    The measure to strengthen biology is effective in small scales. However, with a large amount of land, local microorganism stimulus measure highly disintegrates and is feasible when it is applied in reality.
•    Supplements to raise microorganisms and conditions to raise them on location are defined to be carried out in all dioxin-infected hot places.
•    This technology is recognized as “a green technology” because the demand for energy is low, a small amount of gas is created. This is the best solution for heavily-polluted toxic land. After treatment, it can be reused to bring benefits to the community.
•    Knowledge gained from this project by scientists from the VAST and EPA led to design formulas for suitable biological treatment in order to solve dioxin problems as well as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Vietnam and other places.

Results of the project to detoxicate dioxin infected soil by bioremediation were presented by Vietnamese and American scientists at a meeting of the US-Vietnam Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on Agent Orange/ Dioxin held in Hanoi on July 8th and 9th, 2010.



At the meeting, Mrs. Virginia Palmer, Deputy chief of the Mission from the US Embassy in Vietnam highly appreciated the pilot project to detoxicate dioxin infected soil by bioremediation by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and the U.S Protection Environment Agency. This was an effective cooperation and common effort among scientists to propose creative approaches on dioxin detoxication as well as potential application for other chemicals that create pollution.

This is considered as a mark in scientific cooperation research between Vietnamese and American scientists and promises to open more effective cooperation between the two sides in the near future.



Translated by Tuyet Nhung
Link to Vietnamese version

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