Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Marcelle van der Waals

Date: 18 October 2018
Time: 11:00 - 13:30
Location: Aula, building 362, Gen. Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

Degradation of fuel components

Group: Wageningen University, Microbiology
Promotor: Prof.dr. H. Smidt
Co-promotor: Dr. J. Gerritse

Extra information:


In the environment, soil and groundwater contamination often occur due to anthropogenic activity. Accidental spills, leaking storage tanks or waste disposal have polluted the surrounding environment with inorganic and organic compounds, the latter including for example aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons and ethers. These chemicals pose a risk to the health of the environment, animals and humans. Therefore remediation technologies are needed to clean up the environment. Bioremediation is considered cost effective, sustainable and can accelerate the natural biodegradation. This thesis describes the biodegradation of fuel components. Selected contaminants included methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE), ethyl tert-butyl ether (EtBE), tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) and benzene. Among these contaminants, benzene is often considered as risk determining compound at fuel-contaminated locations due to its solubility and mobility in aquifers as well as its toxicity. MtBE, EtBE and TBA are gasoline ether oxygenates that are often added to fuels to increase their compressibility and combustion efficiency.