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Environ Pollut. 2004 Aug;130(3):465-76.

A multi-process phytoremediation system for removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from contaminated soils.

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Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.


To improve phytoremediation processes, multiple techniques that comprise different aspects of contaminant removal from soils have been combined. Using creosote as a test contaminant, a multi-process phytoremediation system composed of physical (volatilization), photochemical (photooxidation) and microbial remediation, and phytoremediation (plant-assisted remediation) processes was developed. The techniques applied to realize these processes were land-farming (aeration and light exposure), introduction of contaminant degrading bacteria, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), and plant growth of contaminant-tolerant tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). Over a 4-month period, the average efficiency of removal of 16 priority PAHs by the multi-process remediation system was twice that of land-farming, 50% more than bioremediation alone, and 45% more than phytoremediation by itself. Importantly, the multi-process system was capable of removing most of the highly hydrophobic, soil-bound PAHs from soil. The key elements for successful phytoremediation were the use of plant species that have the ability to proliferate in the presence of high levels of contaminants and strains of PGPR that increase plant tolerance to contaminants and accelerate plant growth in heavily contaminated soils. The synergistic use of these approaches resulted in rapid and massive biomass accumulation of plant tissue in contaminated soil, putatively providing more active metabolic processes, leading to more rapid and more complete removal of PAHs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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