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Plant-Soil-Contaminant Specificity Affects Phytoremediation of Organic Contaminants

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The objective of this study was the evaluation of seven forage and conservation crop species for phytoremediation of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and pyrene-contaminated soils. TNT and pyrene were added to soil at 100 mg kg -1 . Crop species screening studies were conducted in a greenhouse and growth chambers on two soil types with different organic matter contents. Under high soil organic matter conditions, adsorption or covalent binding to the soil organic matter appeared to be a dominant force of removal limiting TNT and pyrene availability. In both soil types, pyrene dissipation could not be attributed to the presence of plants. However, in soils with lower organic matter content, all of the plant species treatments showed a significantly higher degree of TNT transformation compared with the unplanted control. Statistically significant differences in TNT transformation were observed among crop species grown in the low OM soil. Reed canary grass ( Phalaris arundinacea L.) and switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum L.) were the most effective species in enhancing TNT transformation. Our data indicated that use of plants was effective for phytoremediation of TNT-contaminated low OM content soils, but did not have any significant effect on pyrene dissipation. Based on these observations, it appears that plant-soil-contaminant interactions are very specific, and this specificity determines the effectiveness of phytoremediation schemes.
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Keywords: PAH; TNT; bioremediation; forage crops; pyrene; soil contamination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture, H.J. Patterson Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742, (301) 405-1325, (301) 314-9041, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture, H.J. Patterson Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742, (301) 405-1322, (301) 314-9041, Email: [email protected] 3: USDA-ARS, Animal Manure and By-Products Laboratory Bldg., 007, Room 013, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center-West, Beltsville, Maryland, 20705, (301) 504-8324, (301) 504-5048, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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