U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Phytotoxicity and Plant Uptake of Fuel Oil Hydrocarbons

C. H. Chaîneau, J. L. Morel, J. Oudot
Journal of environmental quality 1997 v.26 no.6 pp. 1478-1483
Helianthus annuus, Hordeum vulgare, Lactuca sativa, Phaseolus vulgaris, Trifolium repens, Triticum aestivum, Zea mays, aboveground biomass, aromatic compounds, barley, beans, chemical structure, corn, fuel oils, gas chromatography, hydrocarbons, leaves, lethal concentration 50, lettuce, phytotoxicity, plant growth, polluted soils, seed germination, stems, wheat
The phytotoxicity and phytoavailability of hydrocarbons (HC) were studied in soils artificially contaminated with fuel oil. The presence of HC in the soil inhibited seed germination and reduced plant growth. The germination and development of cultivated plants varied with the chemical structure of HC, the HC concentration in soil, and the plant species. The LC₅₀ values for germination after 8 d in the presence of a fuel oil varied from 0.3 to 4% (oil/soil, w/w) for lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), clover (Trifolium repens L.), and maize (Zea mays L.) and from 4 to 9% for bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). Light aromatics and naphtas were the most phytotoxic HC. The inhibition of plant growth increased with HC concentration but was not linearly proportional to the loading rate. Reduction in aerial biomass was >80% for wheat and bean at a concentration of 0.3% and <30% for maize at 1.2%. No saturated nor aromatic fuel oil HC was detected by gas-chromatography in the stems and leaves of maize grown during 110 d on 1.2% oil-contaminated soil, indicating that no uptake of HC from soils occurred.