International journal of phytoremediation

Bioremediation and phytoremediation of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) under various conditions.

PMID 28165761


Remediation of contaminated soils is often studied using fine-textured soils rather than low-fertility sandy soils, and few studies focus on recontamination events. This study compared aerobic and anaerobic treatments for remediation of freshly introduced used motor oil on a sandy soil previously phytoremediated and bioacclimated (microorganisms already adapted in the soil environment) with some residual total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) contamination. Vegetated and unvegetated conditions to remediate anthropogenic fill containing residual TPH that was spiked with nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) were evaluated in a 90-day greenhouse pot study. Vegetated treatments used switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). The concentration of aerobic bacteria were orders of magnitude higher in vegetated treatments compared to unvegetated. Nevertheless, final TPH concentrations were low in all saturated soil treatments, and high in the presence of switchgrass. Concentrations were also low in unvegetated pots with fertilizer. Acclimated indigenous microbial communities were shown to be more effective in breaking down hydrocarbons than introducing microbes from the addition of plant treatments in sandy soils. Remediation of fresh introduced NAPLs on pre-phytoremediated and bioacclimated soil was most efficient in saturated, anaerobic environments, probably due to the already pre-established microbial associations, easily bioavailable contaminants, and optimized soil conditions for microbial establishment and survival.