Studies of the Efficacy of Alfalfa and Reed in the Phytoremediation of Hydrocarbon-Polluted Soil

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The efficacy of plants as means of decontaminating hydrocarbon-polluted soil has been studied. Ditch reed (Phragmites australis) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) markedly intensified processes of pollutant destruction, the effect being particularly pronounced in the case of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Comparative analysis of microflora in soils (including those devoid of plants and rhizosphere) demonstrated that, in addition to preventing a pollutant-induced decrease in the amount of heterotrophic microorganisms, the plants stimulated their development, significantly increasing the population of degraders. Effects of plants on major physiological groups of soil microorganisms under conditions of pollution were ambiguous. The rhizosphere microbial consortium of alfalfa was less susceptible to effects of pollutants than that of reed.

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