Pedosphere 17(4): 409--418, 2007
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2007 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Surfactant-enhanced phytoremediation of soils contaminated with hydrophobic organic contaminants: Potential and assessment
GAO Yan-Zheng1, LING Wan-Ting1, ZHU Li-Zhong2, ZHAO Bao-Wei3 and ZHENG Qing-Song1
1 College of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095 (China). E-mail:
2 College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028 (China)
3 School of Environmental and Municipal Engineering, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730070 (China)
      Phytoremediation is becoming a cost-effective technology for the in-situ clean up of sites polluted with hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs). The major factors limiting phytoremediation are the mass transfer, rate of plant uptake, and microbial biodegradation of HOCs. This article discusses the potential of surfactants to enhance desorption, plant uptake, and biodegradation of HOCs in the contaminated sites. Positive effects of surfactants on phytoremediation have been recently observed in greenhouse studies. The presence of some nonionic surfactants including polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate (Tween 80) and polyoxyethylene (23) dodecanol (Brij35) at relatively low concentrations resulted in significant positive effects on phytoremediation for pyrene-contaminated soil. However, the anionic surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS) and the cationic surfactant (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, CTMAB) were not useful because of their phytotoxicity or low efficiency for surfactant-enhanced phytoremediation (SEPR). The mechanisms of SEPR for HOC-contaminated sites were ewluated by considering experimental observations. In view of concerns about the cost effectiveness and toxicity of surfactants to plants, more research is needed to enhance the use of SEPR technology.
Key Words:  hydrophobic organic contaminant, remediation, SEPR, soil, surfactant
Citation: Gao, Y. Z., Ling, W. T., Zhu, L. Z., Zhao, B. W. and Zheng, Q. S. 2007. Surfactant-enhanced phytoremediation of soils contaminated with hydrophobic organic contaminants: Potential and assessment. Pedosphere. 17(4): 409-418.
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