Root associated microbiome of trees growing in a fractured bedrock toluene phytoremediation site - Year two

Phytoremediation is a promising in-situ technology that uses plants and its associated microorganisms (particularly bacteria and fungi) to clean up contaminated soils. The efficacy of these processes however, requires an in-depth knowledge on the diversity of microbial communities closely interacting with plant roots. Several studies have demonstrated that plants growing in contaminated soils select for competent microorganisms able to degrade these contaminants. Although phytoremediation has received great attention in recent years, research to-date has been limited to typical unconsolidated sediments and its efficacy has yet to be shown in fractured bedrock environments. Therefore, the proposed research will aim to provide a practical evaluation on phytoremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in fractured rock environments. Together, the results in this project will fill knowledge gaps in the scientific literature and evaluate phytoremediation systems as a viable remediation option for our industry partner in a toluene-impacted site. In addition, the proposed research will also provide new insights for industries and regulators to further develop rapid and cost-effective monitoring strategies for phytoremediation performance evaluation at other impacted sites.

Eduardo Kovalski Mitter
Faculty Supervisor: 
Kari Dunfield
Partner University: