Effect of single and mixed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination on plant biomass yield and PAH dissipation during phytoremediation

Seniyat Afegbua, Lesley Batty

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-contaminated sites have a mixture of PAH of varying concentration which may affect PAH dissipation differently to contamination with a single PAH. In this study, pot experiments investigated the impact of PAH contamination on Medicago sativa, Lolium perenne, and Festuca arundinacea biomass and PAH dissipation from soils spiked with phenanthrene (Phe), fluoranthene (Flu), and benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) in single and mixed treatments. Stimulatory or inhibitory effects of PAH contamination on plant biomass yields were not different for the single and mixed PAH treatments. Results showed significant effect of PAH treatments on plant growth with an increased root biomass yield for F. arundinacea in the Phe (175%) and Flu (86%) treatments and a root biomass decrease in the mixed treatment (4%). The mean residual PAHs in the planted treatments and unplanted control for the single treatments were not significantly different. B[a]P dissipation was enhanced for single and mixed treatments (71–72%) with F. arundinacea compared to the unplanted control (24–50%). On the other hand, B[a]P dissipation was inhibited with L. perenne (6%) in the single treatment and M. sativa (11%) and L. perenne (29%) in the mixed treatment. Abiotic processes had greater contribution to PAH dissipation compared to rhizodegradation in both treatments. In most cases, a stimulatory effect of PAH contamination on plant biomass yield without an enhancement of PAH dissipation was observed. Plant species among other factors affect the relative contribution of PAH dissipation mechanisms during phytoremediation. These factors determine the effectiveness and suitability of phytoremediation as a remedial strategy for PAH-contaminated sites. Further studies on impact of PAH contamination, plant selection, and rhizosphere activities on soil microbial community structure and remediation outcome are required.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Early online date27 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2018


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