A 120–day pot experiment was conducted to compare the ability of natural attenuation and phytoremediation approaches to remove polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from soil amended with PAHs–contaminated biomass fly ash. The PAH removal from ash–treated soil was compared with PAHs–spiked soil. The removal of 16 individual PAHs from soil ranged between 4.8% and 87.8% within the experiment. The natural attenuation approach led to a negligible total PAH removal. The phytoremediation was the most efficient approach for PAH removal, while the highest removal was observed in the case of ash–treated soil. The content of low molecular weight (LMW) PAHs and the total PAHs in this treatment significantly decreased (P <.05) over the whole experiment by 47.6% and 29.4%, respectively. The tested level of PAH soil contamination (~1600 µg PAH/kg soil dry weight) had no adverse effects on maize growth as well on the biomass yield. In addition, the PAHs were detected only in maize roots and their bioaccumulation factors were significantly lower than 1 suggesting negligible PAH uptake from soil by maize roots. The results showed that PAHs of ash origin were similarly susceptible to removal as spiked PAHs. The presence of maize significantly boosted the PAH removal from soil and its aboveground biomass did not represent any environmental risk.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: May 30, 2018
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