VARIATION AMONG NINE PLANT SPECIES FOR HYDROCARBON DEGRADATION IN CRUDE OIL-CONTAMINATED SOIL
|P. Kulakow1, A.L. Ryser2, A.P. Schwab1, and M.K. Banks3, 1Department of Agronomy, Throckmorton Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, 2Wamego High School, Wamego, KS 66547, 913-532-72l3; 3Department of Civil Engineering, Seaton Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506||
Phytoremediation is a bioremediation technology that utilizes plants to enhance the cleanup of soils contaminated with hazardous chemicals. Although initial greenhouse and field studies have supported the potential of phytoremediation, the ability of different plant species to improve a remediation design has not been sufficiently studied. In this greenhouse study, we used nine plant species and an unvegetated control in soil artificially contaminated with 0.5% crude oil.
Two of the species also were grown in the same soil without contamination. Plant species were selected to include a range of growth characteristics such as annuals and perennials; monocots and dicots; fibrous root and taproot species; crops and weeds; and warm-season and cool-season species. Our primary objective was to determine if the degradation of the crude oil contaminant varied among species. Our findings would aid further investigation and selection of plant materials best suited for phytoremediation.
The experiment utilized a randomized complete block design with four replications. Seeds were germinated in uncontaminated soil in a growth chamber. Dry soil was contaminated in bulk using a concrete mixer. One gallon pots were filled with 2.5 kg of soil. Three plants were transplanted in the greenhouse seven days after germination. At transplanting, a sample of moist contaminated soil from each replication was placed at 4°C, until harvest, as an abiotic control. Another sample from each replication was dried to estimate the initial contaminant concentration. The greenhouse was maintained at 30°C during the day and 20°C at night with a 14-hour daylength.
At harvest, 126 days after planting, each pot was evaluated for plant height, growth stage, aboveground biomass, and root biomass. Soil was separated from the roots, dried, and sampled to determine the concentration of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). Hydrocarbons were extracted from soil using a shaking method with methylene chloride as the solvent. TPH was determined using IR. Percentage degradation was calculated from the initial and final TPH estimates. All characteristics were analyzed by analysis of variance. All species showed excellent growth throughout the experiment. Differences among species will be discussed as well as the implications for developing a phytoremediation plan.
Key words: phytoremediation, bioremediation, hydrocarbon degradation, plant growth
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