Phytotoxicity of long-term total petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soil - A comparative and combined approach

Kanaji Masakorala, Jun Yao*, Huan Guo, Radhika Chandankere, Jingwei Wang, Minmin Cai, Haijun Liu, Martin M F CHOI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Petroleum hydrocarbon contamination of soil is an emerging environmental threat on the Earth due to possible toxic impact on different ecological receptors. The present study was mainly carried out to evaluate the phytotoxicity of long-term total petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soils by the toxicity end points obtained from three plant species Zea mays, Lactuca sativa L., and Cucumis sativus. The tested soil exerted phytotoxicity for all the evaluated end points of plants with dose-dependent relationship. The determined IC50 indicates inhibition in root elongation as the most sensitive toxicity end point for L. sativa L., while inhibition in cross-section area of meristematic zone as the most susceptible and inhibition in seed germination as the least susceptible end points for both Z. mays and C. sativus. The tested root morphometric parameters confirm their applicability as novel toxicity end points. In addition, microcalorimetric analysis confirmed the applicability of inhibition in metabolic heat emission rate as a toxicity end point. Microcalorimetry can be applied to determine the exerted phytotoxic effect on seedlings. The present combined approach concludes that the phytotoxicity of the tested soil is species-specific and varies as follows: Z. mays < C. sativus < L. sativa L. The findings of this study may have implications in planning comprehensive phytotoxicity assessment for hydrocarbon-contaminated soils or screening plant species for phytoremediation program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1553
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Metabolic heat
  • Morphometric parameters
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Total petroleum hydrocarbon


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