A greenhouse study was conducted to monitor microbial community dynamics related to contaminant concentration and plant growth during the phytoremediation of pyrene. Soil microbial communities in both bulk and rhizosphere soils were assessed using a polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). However, no correlation between pyrene concentration and bacterial community shifts was observed. Even though plants significantly enhanced pyrene degradation (undetectable after 91 d for planted treatments compared with 82 mg/kg for unplanted treatments after 147 d with initial concentration of 758 mg/kg), biodegradation may have been accomplished by the pre-existing microbial community. It is also possible that the method was unable to pick up subtle community shifts, considering that the carbon source from pyrene was only 3.7% of the existing soil organic matter. This research suggests that plants significantly enhance degradation and mineralization of pyrene in soil, although there was no conclusive evidence supporting any specific bacterial activity responsible for this enhancement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Plant Science