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Soil contamination by petroleum hydrocarbons is a global problem. Phytoremediation by plants and their associated microorganisms is a cost-effective strategy to degrade soil contaminants. In boreal regions the cool climate limits the efficiency of phytoremediation. The planting of oil-tolerant perennial crops, especially legumes, in oil-contaminated soil holds promise for great economic benefits for bioenergy and bio-fertilizer production while accelerating the oil degradation process. We established a multi-year field experiment to study the ecological and agronomic feasibility of phytoremediation by a legume (fodder galega) and a grass (smooth brome) in a boreal climate. In 40 months, soil oil content decreased by 73% - 92%, depending on the crop type. The oil degradation followed first-order kinetics with the reduction rates decreasing as follows: bare fallow > galega-brome grass mixture > brome grass > galega. Surprisingly, the presence of oil enhanced crop dry matter and nitrogen yield, particularly in the fourth year. The unfertilized galega-brome grass mixture out-yielded the N-fertilized pure grass swards over years by an average of 33%. Thus, a perennial legume-grass mixture is both ecologically and agronomically sustainable as a cropping system to alleviate soil contamination in the boreal zone, with considerable potential for bioenergy and bio-fertilizer production.
Originalspråkengelska
TidskriftThe Science of the Total Environment
Volym532
Sidor (från-till)752-761
Antal sidor10
ISSN0048-9697
DOI
StatusPublicerad - 1 nov 2015
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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