Comparative fate of [14C]trichloroethylene in the root zone of plants from a former solvent disposal site

Todd A. Anderson, Barbara T. Walton

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95 Scopus citations


A comparison of the environmental fate of [14C]trichloroethylene ([14C]TCE) in vegetated and nonvegetated soils from a contaminated field site indicated increased mineralization (14CO2 production) in soils containing vegetation. Mineralization in soils containing Lespedeza cuneata (Dumont), Pinus taeda (L.), Solidago sp. (all collected from a former chlorinated solvent disposal site), and Glycine max, germinated from commercially available seeds, accounted for >26% of the total recovered radioactivity compared with approximately 15% for nonvegetated soil and <9% for control (sterile) soil. Uptake of 14C into plant tissues ranged from 1 to 21% total for leaves (or needles), stems, and roots and appeared to be related to plant species and water use during the experiment. The higher mineralization rates for [14C]TCE in the vegetated soils compared with nonvegetated soils indicates that the rhizosphere provides a favorable environment for microbial degradation of organic compounds. Therefore, vegetation may play an important role in enhancing biological remediation of contaminated surface soils in situ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2041-2047
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • Bioremediation
  • Degradation
  • Rhizosphere
  • Trichloroethylene


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