Evaluation the Phytoremediation of Oil-contaminated Soils Around Isfahan Oil Refinery

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD in Environmental Sciences, Department of Environment, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resource, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University

2 Prof., Dept. of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran

3 Ass. Prof., Dept. of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan


Petroleum compounds are pollutants that most commonly occur in soils around oil refineries and that often find their ways into groundwater resources. Phytoremediation is a cost-effective alternative to physicochemical methods for oil-contaminated soil remediation, where feasible. In this study, a greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the phytoremediation of oil-contaminated soils around Isfahan Oil Refinery. Four different plants (namely, sorghum, barley, agropyron, and festuca) were initially evaluated in terms of their germinability in both contaminated and control (non-contaminated) soils. Sorghum and barley (recording the highest germinability values) were chosen as the species for use in the phytoremediation experiments. Shoot and root dry weights, total and oil-degrading bacteria counts, microbial activity, and total concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) were determined at harvest 120 days after planting. A significant difference was observed in the bacterial counts (total and oil-degrading bacteria) between the planted soils and the control. In contaminated soils, a higher microbial activity was observed in the rhizosphere of the sorghum soil than in that of barley. TPHs concentration decreased by 52%‒64% after 120 days in contaminated soil in which sorghum and barley had been cultivated. This represented an improvement of 30% compared to the contaminated soil without plants. Based on the results obtained, sorghum and barley may be recommended for the removal of petro-contaminants in areas close to Isfahan Oil Refinery. Nevertheless, caution must be taken as such cultivated lands may need to be protected against grazing animals.


Main Subjects

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