Phytoremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil: Part I. Dissipation of target contaminants

Naressa Cofield, A. Paul Schwab, M. Katherine Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Phytoremediation has been demonstrated to be a viable cleanup alternative for soils contaminated with petroleum products. This study evaluated the application of phytoremediation to soil from a manufactured gas plant (MGP) site with high concentrations of recalcitrant, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Two greenhouse studies investigated the potential dissipation and plant translocation of PAHs by fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the first experiment and zucchini (Curcubita pepo Raven) in the second. The MGP soil was highly hydrophobic and initially inhibited plant growth. Two unplanted controls were established with and without fertilization. In the first experiment, concentrations of PAHs decreased significantly in all treatments after 12 mo. Plant biomass and microbial numbers were statistically equivalent among plant species. PAH concentrations in plant biomass were negligible for fescue and switchgrass. In the second experiment, zucchini enhanced the dissipation of several PAHs after 90 d of treatment when compared to the unvegetated soil. Plant tissue concentrations of PAHs were not elevated in the zucchini roots and shoots, and PAHs were not detectable in the fruit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-370
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Biodegradation
  • Bioremediation
  • Microorganisms
  • Phytoremediation
  • Plants
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Rhizosphere
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Plant Science


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