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Differentiation between physical and chemical effects of oil presence in freshly spiked soil during rhizoremediation trial

Hussain, Imran, Puschenreiter, Markus, Gerhard, Soja, Sani, Syed Gul Abbas Shah, Khan, Waqas-us-din, Reichenauer, Thomas G.
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.18 pp. 18451-18464
Lolium multiflorum, Lotus corniculatus, biomass, chlorophyll, diesel fuel, grasses, greenhouse experimentation, legumes, petroleum, plant growth, polluted soils, remediation, roots, seed germination, seedling emergence, shoots, vegetable oil, vegetables
Petroleum contamination and its remediation via plant-based solutions have got increasing attention by environmental scientists and engineers. In the current study, the physiological and growth responses of two diesel-tolerant plant species (tolerance limit: 1500–2000 mg/kg), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), have been investigated in vegetable oil– and diesel oil–amended soils. A long-term (147-day) greenhouse pot experiment was conducted to differentiate the main focus of the study: physical and chemical effects of oil (vegetable and diesel) in freshly spiked soils via evaluating the plant performance and hydrocarbon degradation. Moreover, plant performance was evaluated in terms of seed germination, plant shoot biomass, physiological parameters, and root biomass. Addition of both diesel oil and vegetable oil in freshly spiked soils showed deleterious effects on seedling emergence, root/shoot biomass, and chlorophyll content of grass and legume plants. Italian ryegrass showed more sensitivity in terms of germination rate to both vegetable and diesel oil as compared to non-contaminated soils while Birdsfoot trefoil reduced the germination rate only in diesel oil–impacted soils. The results of the current study suggest that both physical and chemical effects of oil pose negative effects of plant growth and root development. This observation may explain the phenomenon of reduced plant growth in aged/weathered contaminated soils during rhizoremediation experiments.