In this study, we investigated Phragmites australis’ use of different forms of nitrogen (N) and associated soil N transformations in response to petroleum contamination. 15N tracer studies indicated that the total amount of inorganic and organic N assimilated by P. australis was low in petroleum-contaminated soil, while the rates of inorganic and organic N uptake on a per-unit-biomass basis were higher in petroleum-contaminated soil than those in un-contaminated soil. The percentage of organic N in total plant-assimilated N increased with petroleum concentration. In addition, high gross N immobilization and nitrification rates relative to gross N mineralization rate might reduce inorganic-N availability to the plants. Therefore, the enhanced rate of N uptake and increased importance of organic N in plant N assimilation might be of great significance to plants growing in petroleum-contaminated soils. Our results suggest that plants might regulate N capture under petroleum contamination.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2011
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