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Influence of three species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the persistence of aromatic hydrocarbons in contaminated substrates

Volante, Andrea, Lingua, Guido, Cesaro, Patrizia, Cresta, Andrea, Puppo, Manuela, Ariati, Luigi, Berta, Graziella
Mycorrhiza 2005 v.16 no.1 pp. 43-50
soil pollution, aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, toluene, xylene, bioremediation, Allium porrum, leeks, roots, symbiosis, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae, mycorrhizal fungi
Aromatic hydrocarbons are pollutants which have mutagenic and carcinogenic properties as well as relatively high hydrosolubility. Their presence in soils makes techniques such as bioremediation an important topic for research. In this work, the effect of arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) on the persistence of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) in artificially contaminated substrates was evaluated. Leek plants were grown with three AM fungal species using a specially designed mesocosm system, in which internal air and substrate samples were analyzed by gas chromatography for BTEX content. Strong reductions in the BTEX concentration in substrates were generally observed in the presence of mycorrhizal plants. Residual BTEX content ranged between nearly total disappearance (<2%) and 40% of the original concentration, whereas there was a high persistence of hydrocarbons in the samples of substrate alone or with non-mycorrhizal plants. These results provide first evidence for an influence of AM activity in reducing pollution of substrates by aromatic hydrocarbons.