Biosurfactant-assisted phytoremediation of multi-contaminated industrial soil using sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)

Vitor S Liduino, Eliana F C Servulo, Fernando J S Oliveira
Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering 2018 June 7, 53 (7): 609-616
This study evaluated the use of commercial rhamnolipid biosurfactant supplementation in the phytoremediation of a soil via sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) cultivation. The soil, obtained from an industrial area, was co-contaminated with heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons. The remediation tests were monitored for 90 days. The best results for removal of contaminants were obtained from the tests in which the sunflower plants were cultivated in soil with 4 mg kg-1 of the rhamnolipid. Under these conditions, reductions of 58% and 48% were obtained in the total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations, respectively; reductions in the concentrations of the following metals were also achieved: Ni (41%), Cr (30%), Pb (29%), and Zn (20%). The PCR-DGGE analysis of soil samples collected before and after the treatments verified that the plant cultivation and biosurfactants supplementation had little effect on the structure of the dominant bacterial community in the soil. The results indicated that sunflower cultivation with the addition of a biosurfactant is a viable and efficient technology to treat soils co-contaminated with heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons.

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