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Biophysical mechanisms of trichloroethene uptake and loss in baldcypress growing in shallow contaminated groundwater

Environmental Science and Technology

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, ,
DOI: 10.1021/es981183g

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Abstract

Wetland vegetation may be useful in the remediation of shallow contaminated aquifers. Mesocosm experiments were conducted to describe the regulatory mechanisms affecting trichloroethene (TCE) removal rates from groundwater by flood-adapted wetland trees at a contaminated site. TCE flux through baldcypress [Taxodium distichum (L) Rich] seedlings grown in glass- carboys decreased from day to night and from August to December. The diel fluctuation coincided with changes in leaf-level physiology, as the daytime flux was significantly correlated with net photosynthesis but not with respiration at night. A decrease in seedling water use from summer to winter explained the large seasonal difference in TCE flux. A simple model that simulates gas-phase diffusion through aerenchyma tested the importance of diffusion of TCE vapor from roots to the stem. The modeled diffusive flux was within 64% of the observed value during the winter but could only explain 8% of the summer flux. Seedling water use was a good estimator of flux during the summer. Hence, evapotranspiration (ET) in the summer may serve as a good predictor for the potential of TCE removal by baldcypress trees, while diffusive flux may better approximate potential contaminant loss in the winter.Wetland vegetation may be useful in the remediation of shallow contaminated aquifers. Mesocosm experiments were conducted to describe the regulatory mechanisms affecting trichloroethene (TCE) removal rates from groundwater by flood-adapted wetland trees at a contaminated site. TCE flux through baldcypress [Taxodium distichum (L) Rich] seedlings grown in glass-carboys decreased from day to night and from August to December. The diel fluctuation coincided with changes in leaf-level physiology, as the daytime flux was significantly correlated with net photosynthesis but not with respiration at night. A decrease in seedling water use from summer to winter explained the large seasonal difference in TCE flux. A simple model that simulates gas-phase diffusion through aerenchyma tested the importance of diffusion of TCE vapor from roots to the stem. The modeled diffusive flux was within 64% of the observed value during the winter but could only explain 8% of the summer flux. Seedling water use was a good estimator of flux during the summer. Hence, evapotranspiration (ET) in the summer may serve as a good predictor for the potential of TCE removal by baldcypress trees, while diffusive flux may better approximate potential contaminant loss in the winter.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Biophysical mechanisms of trichloroethene uptake and loss in baldcypress growing in shallow contaminated groundwater
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es981183g
Volume
33
Issue:
17
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
ACS
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Science and Technology
First page:
2899
Last page:
2904
Number of Pages:
6