Sheng Dong is currently a third-year PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Auburn University. Her doctoral research is investigating the transformation of organic contaminants (e.g., per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and chlorinated solvents) in heterogeneous environmental systems containing multiple phases (i.e., gas, liquid, and solid), and the interactions between the transformation of contaminants and the response of microbial communities. She holds a master’s degree in Fisheries and a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and has research experience on genetic engineering of bacteria for biofuel production.
Aerobic biotransformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol in AFFF-impacted soil
Prior studies have reported the biotransformation of fluorotelomer-based compounds in activated sludge, landfill leachate-sediment, and pristine soils. In this study, aerobic biotransformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer-alcohol (FTOH) was evaluated in laboratory microcosms using an aqueous film forming foam (AFFF)-impacted soil to delineate biotransformation pathways using native microbial communities. During the 90-day incubation at 25°C, >90% of the 8:2 FTOH was transformed and four previously reported polyfluorinated metabolites, including 8:2 fluorotelomer carboxylic acid, 8:2 fluorotelomer ?,?-unsaturated carboxylic acid, 2H-pentadecafluoro-2-nonanol and 2H,2H,3H,3H-pentadecafluorodecanoic acid were detected, accounting for <30% of the converted FTOH. Preliminary non-targeted per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) analysis indicated that 4:4 polyfluoroalkyl acid, 4:3 polyfluoroalkyl acid, and 5:3 fluorotelomer unsaturated carboxylic acid were detected as novel 8:2 FTOH biotransformation products. Microbial community analysis will be used to investigate the effects of 8:2 FTOH exposure on soil microbial communities and provide insights into the biotransformation of fluorotelomer compounds at AFFF-impacted sites.