Application of a dialysis sampler to monitor phytoremediation processes

W. Andrew Jackson, Louis Martino, Steven Hirsh, John Wrobel, John H. Pardue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A cylindrical dialysis sampler (1.2 m in length; 5 cm in diameter) was designed and constructed to sample small-scale phytoremediation processes in the root zone of poplar trees. The study site was a 183-tree plantation of hybrid poplars located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, at the J-Field Area of Concern. The grove was planted in 1996 to intercept a chlorinated solvent plume containing 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane (1,1,2,2-TeCA, trichloroethene (TCE) and daughter products. Two dialysis samplers were installed: one directly in the poplar grove (approximately 0.3 m from the trunk of a mature tree) and the other outside of the grove but in the plume. Data collected included concentrations of chlorinated VOCs, organic acids, chloroacetic acids, Cl-, and dissolved gases (ethane, ethene, CH4, CO2). At the control location, the VOC profile was dominated by cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE) and trans-1,2-dichloroethene (trans-1,2-DCE) with concentrations ranging from 0.88-4.5 to 4.4-17.6 mg/L, respectively. Concentrations of VOCs were similar across the vertical profile. At the tree location, 1,1,2,2-TeCA and TCE were the dominant VOCs detected but as opposed to the control location were highly variable within the root zone, with the greatest variability associated with locations in the sampler where roots were observed. This highly variable profile at the tree location is indicative of VOC rhizosphere biodegradation and uptake near the active roots. This variability appears to be on the centimeter scale, emphasizing the importance of these high-resolution samplers for the study of rhizosphere influences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-171
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Bioremediation
  • Dialysis sampler
  • Poplar
  • Rhizosphere
  • Trichloroethene


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