Wetland plant uptake of desorption-resistant organic compounds from sediments

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Wetland plant uptake of 14C-labeled phenanthrene and chlorobenzene was investigated in greenhouse studies using sediment prepared to contain only the desorption-resistant fraction of the contaminant. Measurements of contaminant distribution in the plants and root-contaminant partition coefficients were conducted as well as estimates of the transpiration stream concentration of chlorobenzene and phenanthrene. Plant uptake of desorption-resistant phenanthrene and chlorobenzene occurred primarily in the root zone with total uptake ranging from 3.8 to 5.7% of the initial concentration in the sediment. Observed uptake of the compounds was remarkably similar despite wide differences in contaminant properties. A biphasic sorption isotherm was combined with a simple translocation model to predict plant uptake from two processes: root sorption and translocation. The model predicted the observed uptake well and may serve as an important tool for estimating plant uptake in sediments containing a desorption-resistant fraction. The potential implications of the existence of a finite, desorption-resistant pool of contaminants on phytoremediation of sediments are discussed.

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Environmental science & technology

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