Effect of soil depth on phytoremediation efficiency for petroleum contaminants. Academic Article uri icon


  • Biodegradation of organic contaminants in soil may be enhanced by the presence of vegetation. Evaluating the effect of soil depth on phytoremediation efficiency may provide researchers and regulators with a clearer understanding of contaminant clean-up. A column study with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and diesel-contaminated soil was conducted over a 147-day period of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) growth. Analysis of the contaminants and plant biomass was conducted along with microbial enumeration at three soil depths in 49-day intervals. Remediation proceeded rapidly near the surface of the soil (0-20 cm) for both vegetated and unvegetated columns, but the effect of vegetation relative to an unvegetated control only was significant in the lower soil depths. Contaminant dissipation in the 20-40 and 40-60 cm layers was not significantly different between vegetated and unvegetated soil.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng

author list (cited authors)

  • Keller, J., Banks, M. K., & Schwab, A. P.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Keller, Jeffrey||Banks, M Katherine||Schwab, AP

publication date

  • January 2008