The Effect of Plants on the Bioavailability and Toxicity of Contaminants in Soil

EPA Grant Number: R825413
Title: The Effect of Plants on the Bioavailability and Toxicity of Contaminants in Soil
Investigators: Banks, M. Katherine , Schwab, Arthur Paul , Smith, J. Scott
Institution: Kansas State University
Current Institution: Kansas State University , Purdue University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through December 31, 2000
Project Amount: $499,941
RFA: DOE/EPA/NSF/ONR Joint Program on Bioremediation (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management


The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the effect of plants on the bioavailability and toxicity of soil contaminants. This objective will be accomplished with three concurrent studies. In the first study, the fate of petroleum contaminants in vegetated systems will be evaluated using closed plant chambers and 14C radiolabeled compounds, with an agressive grass species. This study will allow us to trace the contaminant as it becomes incorporated into soil organic material. Bioavailability of the contaminants will be assessed by mineralization, by-product formation, and plant uptake. A second study is designed to evaluate the effect of weathering on contaminant bioavailablity in unvegetated and vegetated soil. The contaminant used in this study will be a simulated diesel fuel. This two-phase study consists of an outdoor weathering phase followed by an extensive greenhouse phase with a suitable grass species. Contaminants and toxicity will be evaluated over time. The third study will be a field project at the US Naval Port Hueneme, CA. Vegetated plots will be established in diesel contaminated soil, and contaminant concentration and toxicity of soil will be evaluated over a two year period. Plant species will be chosen based on initial germination studies and consultation with local horticultural experts. Samples of soil and leachate will be taken every three months. In support of these three studies, a sequential soil extraction method will be developed to predict bioavailability of soil contaminants. Toxicity of all soil and leachates in the three studies will be evaluated using Microtox, shrimp, earthworm, and seed germination assays. Results from this research will contribute to the overall data base on bioremediation and associated end-point evaluation.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 22 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Bioremediation, phytoremediation, Hydrocarbon, Vadose zone, chemical transport, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Bioavailability, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, State, Bioremediation, Biology, fate and transport, petroleum, contaminated sediment, plants, greenhouse phase, contaminants in soil, toxicity, bioremediation of soils, grass species, phytoremediation, vadose zone, California (CA), diesel fuel, shrimp, earthworm

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Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997 Progress Report
  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report