Title

Toxicity assessment of volatile organic compounds in poplar trees

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

International Journal of Phytoremediation

Volume

1

Issue

1

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Publication Date

1-1-1999

First Page

9

Last Page

17

DOI

10.1080/15226519908500002

Abstract

A method is described to assess the toxicity of selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in poplar trees. The method is illustrated for a specific aqueous mixture of VOCs that contaminates the groundwater at a site for which phytoremediation was being considered. The VOC mixture contained a variety of aromatic compounds, chlorinated aliphatics, and alcohols. Poplar tree cuttings planted in 50-gallon barrels in the greenhouse were watered via subirrigation. The subirrigant contained either a low (42 mg/L), medium (85 mg/L), or high (169 mg/L) dose of the VOC mixture, or water only (experimental control). Phytotoxicity was evaluated by measuring the physiological parameters of stomatal conductance, shoot elongation, and biomass production. Two experiments are briefly described: (1) The poplar tree cuttings were allowed to become established in the barrels and then treated to gradually increasing concentrations of the VOC mixture until the final dose was reached. The objective was to establish a detailed dose-response relationship. (2) The poplar tree cuttings were given the low, medium, or high dose of the VOC mixture immediately after planting. The aim of this experiment was to determine if the VOC mixture would be inhibitory to root development. Phytotoxic effects were not observed in either experiment.

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