Degradation of phenanthrene and pyrene in rhizosphere of grasses and legumes

Sang Hwan Lee, Won Seok Lee, Chang Ho Lee, Jeong Gyu Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Citations (Scopus)


Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for the remediation of organic soil pollutants such as phenanthrene and pyrene (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs). The PAH degradation ability of four native Korean plant species (Panicum bisulcatum, Echinogalus crus-galli, Astragalus membranaceus, and Aeschynomene indica) was compared in the greenhouse. During the 80-day experiment, soil samples were collected and analyzed periodically to determine the residual PAH content and microbial activity. More PAHs were dissipated in planted soil (i.e., with a rhizosphere) than in unplanted soil, and there were more obvious effects of plants on pyrene dissipation than on phenanthrene dissipation. After 80 days, >99 and 77-94% of phenanthrene and pyrene, respectively, had been degraded in planted soil, whereas 99% and 69% had been degraded in unplanted soil. This enhanced dissipation of PAHs in planted soils might be derived from increased microbial activity and plant-released enzymes. During the experimental period, a relatively large amount of phenolic compounds, high microbial activity, and high peroxidase activity were detected in planted soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-898
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 May 1


  • Microbial activity
  • Phytoremediation
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Rhizosphere
  • Soil enzymes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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