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Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a widespread soil and groundwater pollutant and clean-up is often problematic and expensive. Phytoremediation may be a cost-effective solution at some sites. This study investigates TCE degradation by willows (S. viminalis) and willows inoculated with three strains of B. cepacia (301C, PR1-31 and VM1330-pTOM), using chloride formation as an indicator of dehalogenation. Willows were grown in non-sterile, hydroponic conditions for 3 weeks in chloride-free nutrient solution spiked with TCE. TCE was added weekly due to rapid loss by volatilization. Chloride and TCE in solution were measured every 2-3 days and chloride and metabolite concentrations in plants were measured at test termination. Based on transpiration, no tree toxicity of TCE exposure was observed. However, trees grown in chloride-free solution showed severely inhibited transpiration. No or very little chloride was formed during the test, and levels of chloride in TCE-exposed trees were not elevated. Chloride concentrations in chloride containing TCE-free nutrient solution doubled within 23 days, indicating active exclusion of chloride by root cell membranes. Only traces of TCE-metabolites were detected in plant tissue. We conclude that TCE is not, or to a limited extent (less than 3%), aerobically degraded by the willow trees. The three strains of B. cepacia did not enhance TCE mineralization. Future successful application of rhizo- and phytodegradation of TCE requires measures to be taken to improve the degradation rates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume24
Issue number22
Pages (from-to)18320–18331
Number of pages12
ISSN0944-1344
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 1

    Research areas

  • B. cepacia, Chloride, Dehalogenation, Phytoremediation, TCE degradation, Trichloroethylene, Willow tree toxicity test
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