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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Bioremediation and Biodegradation

Impact of Ectomycorrhizal Colonization of Hybrid Poplar on the Remediation of Diesel-Contaminated Soil


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 927-934
    Received: May 26, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): ken.vanrees@usask.ca
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  1. J. J. Gunderson,
  2. J. D. Knight and
  3. K. C. J. Van Rees *
  1. Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada


Infection by ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi may benefit hybrid poplar growing in contaminated soils by providing greater access to water and nutrients and possibly protecting the trees from direct contact with toxic contaminants. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of colonization of the ECM fungus Pisolithus tinctorius (Pers.) Coker & Couch on hybrid poplar fine root production, biomass and N and P uptake when grown in diesel-contaminated soil (5000 mg diesel fuel kg soil−1). Commercially available Mycogrow Tree Tabs were the source of inoculum. A minirhizotron camera was used to provide the data necessary for estimating fine root production. Colonization of hybrid poplar roots (P. deltoides × [P. laurifolia × P. nigra] cv. Walker) by P. tinctorius increased total fine root production in diesel-contaminated soil to 56.58 g m−2 compared to 22.59 g m−2 in the uncolonized, diesel-contaminated treatment. Hybrid poplar leaf N and P concentrations were significantly greater in the diesel-contaminated/ECM-colonized treatment compared to the diesel-contaminated/uncolonized treatment after 12 wk, while significantly less diesel fuel was recovered from the soil of the uncolonized treatment compared to the colonized treatment. Both planted treatments removed more contaminants from the soil than an unplanted control. Significantly greater concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) were found sequestered in hybrid poplar root/fungal-sheath complexes from the colonized treatment compared to the roots of the uncolonized treatment. The results of this study indicate that over a 12-wk growth period, ECM colonization of hybrid poplar in diesel-contaminated soils increased fine root production and whole-plant biomass, but inhibited removal of TPH from the soil.

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