Willows used for phytoremediation increased organic contaminant concentrations in soil surface

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Output type: Journal article

UM6P affiliated Publication?: Yes

Author list: Fortin Faubert M., Desjardins D., Hijri M., Labrecque M.

Publisher: MDPI

Publication year: 2021

Journal: APPLIED SCIENCES-BASEL (2076-3417)

Volume number: 11

Issue number: 7

ISSN: 2076-3417

eISSN: 2076-3417

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85103397015&doi=10.3390%2fapp11072979&partnerID=40&md5=9a63ac5c422b36f51608365367de2d75

Languages: English (EN-GB)

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The Salix genus includes shrub species that are widely used in phytoremediation and various other phytotechnologies due to their advantageous characteristics, such as a high evapotranspiration (ET) rate, in particular when cultivated in short rotation intensive culture (SRIC). Observations made in past field studies suggest that ET and its impact on soil hydrology can also lead to increases in soil pollutant concentrations near shrubs. To investigate this, sections of a mature willow plantation (seven years old) were cut to eliminate transpiration (Cut treatment). Soil concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), aliphatic compounds C10-C50, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and five trace elements (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn) were compared between the Cut and the uncut plots (Salix miyabeana ‘SX61'). Over 24 months, the results clearly show that removal of the willow shrubs limited the contaminants’ increase in the soil surface, as observed for C10-C50 and of 10 PAHs under the Salix treatment. This finding strongly reinforces a hypothesis that SRIC of willows may facilitate the migration of contaminants towards their roots, thus increasing their concentration in the surrounding soil. Such a “pumping effect” in a high-density willow crop is a prominent characteristic specific to field studies that can lead to counterintuitive results. Although apparent increases of contaminant concentrations contradict the purification benefits usually pursued in phytoremediation, the possibility of active phytoextraction and rhizodegradation is not excluded. Moreover, increases of pollutant concentrations under shrubs following migration suggest that decreases would consequently occur at the source points. Some reflections on interpreting field work results are provided. © 2021 by the authors.


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Last updated on 2021-26-11 at 23:16