Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 4
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Thomas, I.A. Jordan, P. Mellander, P.-E. Fenton, O. Shine, O. Ó hUallacháin, D. Creamer, R. McDonald, N.T. Dunlop, P. and Murphy, P.N.C. 2016. Improving the identification of hydrologically sensitive areas using LiDAR DEMs for the delineation and mitigation of critical source areas of diffuse pollution. Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 556, p. 276.

    Thomas, I.A. Mellander, P.-E. Murphy, P.N.C. Fenton, O. Shine, O. Djodjic, F. Dunlop, P. and Jordan, P. 2016. A sub-field scale critical source area index for legacy phosphorus management using high resolution data. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Vol. 233, p. 238.

    Healy, M.G. Barrett, M. Lanigan, G.J. João Serrenho, A. Ibrahim, T.G. Thornton, S.F. Rolfe, S.A. Huang, W.E. and Fenton, O. 2015. Optimizing nitrate removal and evaluating pollution swapping trade-offs from laboratory denitrification bioreactors. Ecological Engineering, Vol. 74, p. 290.

    Ibrahim, Tristan G. Goutelle, Alexis Healy, Mark G. Brennan, Raymond Tuohy, Patrick Humphreys, James Lanigan, Gary Brechignac, Jade and Fenton, Owen 2015. Mixed Agricultural Pollutant Mitigation Using Woodchip/Pea Gravel and Woodchip/Zeolite Permeable Reactive Interceptors. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, Vol. 226, Issue. 3,


Permeable reactive interceptors: blocking diffuse nutrient and greenhouse gases losses in key areas of the farming landscape

  • O. FENTON (a1), M. G. HEALY (a2), F. BRENNAN (a3), M. M. R. JAHANGIR (a1), G. J. LANIGAN (a1), K. G. RICHARDS (a1), S. F. THORNTON (a4) and T. G. IBRAHIM (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 29 January 2014

Engineered remediation technologies such as denitrifying bioreactors target single contaminants along a nutrient transfer continuum. However, mixed contaminant discharges to a water body are more common from agricultural systems. Indeed, evidence presented herein indicates that pollution swapping within denitrifying bioreactor systems adds to such deleterious discharges. The present paper proposes a more holistic approach to contaminant remediation on farms, moving from the use of ‘denitrifying bioreactors’ to the concept of a ‘permeable reactive interceptor’ (PRI). Besides management changes, a PRI should contain additional remediation cells for specific contaminants in the form of solutes, particles or gases. Balance equations and case studies representing different geographic areas are presented and used to create weighting factors. Results showed that national legislation with respect to water and gaseous emissions will inform the eventual PRI design. As it will be expensive to monitor a system continuously in a holistic manner, it is suggested that developments in the field of molecular microbial ecology are essential to provide further insight in terms of element dynamics and the environmental controls on biotransformation and retention processes within PRIs. In turn, microbial and molecular fingerprinting could be used as an in-situ cost-effective tool to assess nutrient and gas balances during the operational phases of a PRI.

Corresponding author
*To whom all correspondence should be addressed:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B. B. Balana , A. Vinten & B. Slee (2011). A review on cost-effectiveness analysis of agri-environmental measures related to the EU WFD: key issues, methods, and applications. Ecological Economics 70, 10211031.

A. R. Buda , G. F. Koopmans , R. B. Bryant & W. J. Chardon (2012). Emerging technologies for removing nonpoint phosphorus from surface water and groundwater: introduction. Journal of Environmental Quality 41, 621627.

S. G. Cameron & L. A. Schipper (2011). Evaluation of passive solar heating and alternative flow regimes on nitrate removal in denitrification beds. Ecological Engineering 37, 11951204.

L. E. Christianson , J. A. Hanly & M. J. Hedley (2011 a). Optimized denitrification bioreactor treatment through simulated drainage containment. Agriculture Water Management 99, 8592.

L. Christianson , A. Bhandari & M. J. Helmers (2011 b). Pilot-scale evaluation of denitrification drainage bioreactors: reactor geometry and performance. Journal of Environmental Engineering 137, 213220.

L.-J. Feng , J. Xu , X.-Y. Xu , L. Zhu , J. Xu , W. Ding & J. Luan (2012). Enhanced biological nitrogen removal via dissolved oxygen partitioning and step feeding in a simulated river bioreactor for contaminated source water remediation. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 71, 7279.

O. Fenton , M. G. Healy & M. Rodgers (2009 a). Use of ochre from an abandoned metal mine in the South East of Ireland for phosphorus sequestration from dairy dirty water. Journal of Environmental Quality 38, 11201125.

O. Fenton , K. G. Richards , L. Kirwan , M. I. Khalil & M. G. Healy (2009 b). Factors affecting nitrate distribution in shallow groundwater under a beef farm in South Eastern Ireland. Journal of Environmental Management 90, 31353146.

M. Gentile , T. Yan , S. M. Tiquia , M. W. Fields , J. Nyman , J. Zhou & C. S. Criddle (2006). Stability in a denitrifying fluidized bed reactor. Microbial Ecology 52, 311321.

M. Gentile , C. M. Jessup , J. L. Nyman & C. S. Criddle (2007). Correlation of functional instability and community dynamics in denitrifying dispersed-growth reactors. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73, 680690.

P. M. Groffman , M. A. Altabet , J. K. Böhlke , K. Butterbach-Bahl , M. B. David , M. K. Firestone , A. E. Giblin , T. M. Kana , L. P. Nielsen & M. A. Voytek (2006). Methods for measuring denitrification: diverse approaches to a difficult problem. Ecological Applications 16, 20912122.

M. G. Healy , T. G. Ibrahim , G. J. Lanigan , A. J. Serrenho & O. Fenton (2012). Nitrate removal rate, efficiency and pollution swapping potential of different organic carbon media in laboratory denitrification bioreactors. Ecological Engineering 40, 198209.

R. Hill , K. Smith , K. Russell , T. Misselbrook & S. Brookman (2008). Emissions of ammonia from weeping wall stores and earth-banked lagoons determined using passive sampling and atmospheric dispersion modelling. Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry 59, 8398.

M. Huber-Humer , J. Gebert & H. Hilger (2008). Biotic systems to mitigate landfill methane emissions. Waste Management and Research 26, 3346.

M. M. R. Jahangir , P. Johnston , M. I. Khalil , D. Hennessey , J. Humphreys , O. Fenton & K. G. Richards (2012). Groundwater: a pathway for terrestrial C and N losses and indirect gas emissions. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 159, 4048.

D. Li , G. Lanigan & J. Humphreys (2011). Measured and simulated nitrous oxide emissions from ryegrass- and ryegrass/white clover-based grasslands in a moist temperate climate. PLoS ONE 6, E26176. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0026176.

T. B. Moorman , T. B. Parkin , T. C. Kaspar & D. B. Jaynes (2010). Denitrification activity, wood loss, and N2O emissions over 9 years from a wood chip bioreactor. Ecological Engineering 36, 15671574.

O. Nercessian , N. Bienvenu , D. Moreira , D. Prieur & C. Jeanthon (2005). Diversity of functional genes of methanogens, methanotrophs and sulfate reducers in deep-sea hydrothermal environments. Environmental Microbiology 7, 118132.

S. R. Pangala , D. S. Reay & K. V. Heal (2010). Mitigation of methane emissions from constructed farm wetlands. Chemosphere 78, 493499.

L. Philippot (2005). Tracking nitrate reducers and denitrifiers in the environment. Biochemical Society Transactions 33, 200204.

L. Philippot , S. Hallin & M. Schloter (2007). Ecology of denitrifying prokaryotes in agricultural soil. Advances in Agronomy 96, 249305.

L. Philippot , J. Andert , C. M. Jones , D. Bru & S. Hallin (2011). Importance of denitrifiers lacking the genes encoding the nitrous oxide reductase for N2O emissions from soil. Global Change Biology 17, 14971504.

L. A. Schipper , W. D. Robertson , A. J. Gold , D. B. Jaynes & S. C. Cameron (2010). Denitrifying bioreactors – an approach for reducing nitrate loads to receiving waters. Ecological Engineering 36, 15321543.

C. A. Schmidt & M. W. Clark (2012). Efficacy of a denitrification wall to treat continuously high nitrate loads. Ecological Engineering 42, 203211.

R. Shih , W. D. Robertson , S. L. Schiff & D. L. Rudolph (2011). Nitrate controls methyl mercury production in a streambed bioreactor. Journal of Environmental Quality 40, 15861592.

F. G. Simon & W. W. Müller (2004). Standard and alternative landfill capping design in Germany. Environmental Science and Policy 7, 277290.

C. J. Stevens & J. N. Quinton (2008). Policy implications of pollution swapping. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Parts A/B/C 34, 589594.

C. J. Stevens & J. N. Quinton (2009). Diffuse pollution swapping in arable agricultural systems. Critical Reviews in Environment Science and Technology 39, 478520.

C. C. Tanner , J. P. S. Sukias , T. R. Headley , C. R. Yates & R. Stott (2012). Constructed wetlands and denitrifying bioreactors for on-site and decentralised wastewater treatment: comparison of five alternative configurations. Ecological Engineering 42, 112123.

N. K. Themelis & P. A. Ulloa (2007). Methane generation in landfills. Renewable Energy 32, 12431257.

I. N. Throbäck , K. Enwall , A. Jarvis & S. Hallin (2004). Reassessing PCR primers targeting nirS, nirK and nosZ genes for community surveys of denitrifying bacteria with DGGE. FEMS Microbiology and Ecology 49, 401417.

M. D. Wallenstein , D. D. Myrold , M. Firestone & M. Voytek (2006). Environmental controls on denitrifying communities and denitrification rates: insights from molecular methods. Ecological Applications 16, 21432152.

S. Warnecke , L. A. Schipper , D. A. Bruesewitz , I. Mcdonald & S. Cameron (2011). Rates, controls and potential adverse effects of nitrate removal in a denitrification bed. Ecological Engineering 37, 511522.

A. Zhang , L. Cui , G. Pan , L. Li , Q. Hussain , X. Zhang , J. Zheng & D. Crowley (2010). Effect of biochar amendment on yield and methane and nitrous oxide emissions from a rice paddy from Tai Lake plain, China. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 139, 469475.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Agricultural Science
  • ISSN: 0021-8596
  • EISSN: 1469-5146
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-agricultural-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *