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J Hazard Mater. 2011 Feb 28;186(2-3):1271-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.11.126. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

Influence of Rhizobium meliloti on phytoremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by alfalfa in an aged contaminated soil.

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Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China.


Microbe-assisted phytoremediation is emerging as one of the most effective means by which plants and their associated rhizosphere microbes degrade organic contaminants in soils. A pot study was conducted to examine the effects of inoculation with Rhizobium meliloti on phytoremediation by alfalfa grown for 90 days in an agricultural soil contaminated with weathered polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Planting with uninoculated alfalfa (P) and alfalfa inoculated with R. meliloti (PR) significantly lowered the initial soil PAH concentrations by 37.2 and 51.4% respectively compared with unplanted control soil. Inoculation with R. meliloti significantly increased the counts of culturable PAH-degrading bacteria, soil microbial activity and the carbon utilization ability of the soil microbial community. The results suggest that the symbiotic association between alfalfa and Rhizobium can stimulate the rhizosphere microflora to degrade PAHs and its application may be a promising bioremediation strategy for aged PAH-contaminated soils.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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