Addressing petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in subsurface environments

14 September 2023


Scientist at work in a Microbial Insights laboratory

In the realm of environmental remediation, Australia is at the forefront of innovative solutions, and QuantArray®-NSZD by Microbial Insights Inc. promises to revolutionize the way we address petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in subsurface environments.

Natural Source Zone Depletion (NSZD), is a complex process involving the reduction and removal of petroleum hydrocarbons from below the Earth’s surface, with documented rates as high as tens of thousands of litres per hectare per year.  Mine sites are notorious for high levels of petroleum hydrocarbons.  Although the process occurs naturally, the biggest challenge for mine site managers has been in identifying and monitoring the potential for NSZD at contaminated sites. QuantArray®-NSZD steps in as a game-changing tool that unravels the mysteries of LNAPL (Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid) attenuation.

This technology dives deep into the microbial communities responsible for NSZD, providing a comprehensive view of the microbes and processes involved. At its core, QuantArray® analyses a suite of gene targets known to play a role in natural source zone depletion – it tells us which key microbes are present in the site, and what tools they have in their toolboxes. By simultaneously quantifying these targets from a single sample, QuantArray®-NSZD empowers mine site managers to make informed decisions about remediation strategies.

In a local case study in Australia, Microbial Insights’ microbiological tools (MBTs) played a pivotal role in gathering evidence for the occurrence of NSZD. Bioremediation efforts demonstrated the continual depletion of LNAPL mass, showcasing the tangible impact of technologies like QuantArray®-NSZD and how it stands as a testament to our commitment to environmental stewardship and technological innovation.

For more information on QuantArray® technology head to:   Microbiol Insights QuantArray®