Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) is a secondary high explosive that has been identified as a contaminant of concern in groundwater and soil as a result of military training activities (Wani et al., 2002). Remediation technologies that have been proposed for use on these training ranges include in situ techniques. An obstacle to using in situ approaches for the treatment of RDX contaminated soils and groundwater is the lack of information concerning the biogeochemical factors that influence transformation. This research compares paired (biotic and poised abiotic systems) RDX degradation experiments in which Eh-pH conditions conducive to RDX degradation were established.

Degradation of RDX under iron-reducing conditions was studied in biological and chemical systems. The redox conditions created by the biological systems were simulated by poised chemical systems in order to compare RDX transformation. The poised chemical systems used an iron-ligand complex to achieve the necessary Eh values for RDX degradation. RDX degraded in both biological and chemical systems and final reaction solutions from both systems were analyzed to determine which degradation pathway was followed. The results from this effort will expand the basic knowledge of energetic transformation over a range of biologically-induced conditions, by isolation of enzymatic pathways from abiotic redox mechanisms.