Surfactant enhanced pyrene degradation in the rhizosphere of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)

Sardar Alam Cheema*, Muhammad Imran Khan, Xianjin Tang, Chaofeng Shen, Muhammad Farooq, Yingxu Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of two non ionic surfactants (Tween 80 and Triton X-100), a biosurfactant (Lecithin), and randomly methylated-β-cyclodextrins (RAMEB) on the remediation of pyrene from soil planted with tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). Soils with pyrene concentration of about 243 mg kg−1 was grown with tall fescue and were individually amended with 0, 200, 600, 1000, and 1500 mg kg−1 of Tween 80, Triton X-100, biosurfactant, and RAMEB. The results show that all surfactants significantly increased plant biomass compared to unamended soil. Dehydrogenase activity was also stimulated as a result of surfactant addition. Only 3.9 and 3.2 % of pyrene was decreased in the uncovered and covered abiotic sterile control, suggesting that microbial degradation was the main removal mechanism of pyrene from soil. In the planted treatment receiving no surfactant, the remediation of pyrene was 45 % which is significantly higher than that of corresponding unplanted control soil, suggesting that the cultivation of tall fescue alone could enhance the overall remediation of pyrene in soil. All surfactants had significantly higher rates of pyrene remediation compared to the unamended planted soil. Generally, RAMEB displayed the highest remediation rates, i.e., 64.4–79.1 % followed by the Triton X-100, i.e., 60.1–74.8 %. The positive impact of surfactants on pyrene remediation could possibly be because of their capacities to increase its bioavailability in soil. The evidence from this study suggests that the addition of surfactants could enhance phytoremediation of PAHs polluted soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18129-18136
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2016


  • Phytoremediation
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Pyrene
  • Surfactants
  • Tall fescue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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