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Effects of plant species identity, diversity and soil fertility on biodegradation of phenanthrene in soil

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Pollution
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)231-237
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The work presented in this paper investigated the effects of plant species composition, species diversity and soil fertility on biodegradation of C-14-phenanthrene in soil. The two soils used were of contrasting fertility, taken from long term unfertilised and fertilised grassland, showing differences in total nitrogen content (%N). Plant communities consisted of six different plant species: two grasses, two forbs, and two legume species, and ranged in species richness from 1 to 6. The degradation of C-14-phenanthrene was evaluated by measuring indigenous catabolic activity following the addition of the contaminant to soil using respirometry. Soil fertility was a driving factor in all aspects of C-14-phenanthrene degradation; lag phase, maximum rates and total extents of C-14-phenanthrene mineralisation were higher in improved soils compared to unimproved soils. Plant identity had a significant effect on the lag phase and extents of mineralisation. Soil fertility was the major influence also on abundance of microbial communities. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.