Impact of soil amendments and the plant rhizosphere on PAH behaviour in soil

Geoffrey Marchal, Kilian E.C. Smith, Philipp Mayer, Lis Wollesen de Jonge, Ulrich G. Karlson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Carbonaceous amendments reduce PAH dissolved concentrations (Cfree), limiting their uptake and toxicity. A soil contaminated with PAHs was mixed with activated carbon (AC), charcoal or compost and planted with radish (Raphanus sativus L.), and Cfree, chemical activities and diffusive uptake of the PAHs measured over 2 months. For AC, Cfree and diffusive uptake were decreased by up to 94% compared to the unamended soil within one week. In addition, the sum chemical activity of the PAHs remained below the threshold for baseline toxicity. In contrast, charcoal and compost only led to modest reductions in Cfree and diffusive uptake, with sum chemical activities that could potentially result in baseline toxicity being observed. Furthermore, both Cfree and diffusive uptake were lower in the planted compared to unplanted soils. Therefore, only AC successfully reduced PAH acute toxicity in the soil, but plant-promoted microbial degradation may also play an important role in PAH attenuation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Pages (from-to)124-131
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Radish (Raphanus sativus L.)
  • Freely dissolved concentration
  • Chemical activity
  • Diffusive uptake
  • Passive sampling

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