Bioremediation potential of a bacterial inoculant, Inocul-M consortium, on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) plants grown in soils amended with biochar and spiked with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Remediation and reclamation of contaminated lands could be achieved by incorporating biofuel agro-ecosystems that utilizes large biomass plant species with low-nitrogen requirements and have high bioremediation potential, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), in conjunction with biochar, a carbon–rich soil amendment, and inoculated with beneficial plant and soil microbes. Our partner industry, Inocucor, has developed the formulation Inocul-M; its components have been shown to enhance the degradation of toxic organic compounds, promote plant growth, and enable the reduction of chemical inputs. Utilizing germination and root length bioassays to assess phytotoxicity, growth chamber experiments targeted at examining early plant physiological responses to the pollutant, and outdoor pot experiments that simulate field experiments without the confounding factors associated with field studies, the McGill and Inocucor teams will work together to demonstrate the effects and value of the Inocucor technology and its possible interactions with biochar for the purposes of bioremediation.

Keomany Ker
Faculty Supervisor: 
Donald Smith
Project Year: