Accumulation of six PFAS compounds by woody and herbaceous plants: potential for phytoextraction

By David K Huff, Lawrence A Morris, Lori Sutter, Jed Costanza, and Kurt D Pennell
Int J Phytoremediation
July 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1080/15226514.2020.1786004

Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) consist of a large group of compounds used to make products more resistant to stains, grease, and water and for fire suppression. They have been widely detected in the environment and exposure has been linked to adverse human health effects. Phytoremediation could be used to remediate PFAS-impacted sites, but there is little information on herbaceous and woody plant species uptake of PFAS compounds from soil. A greenhouse study evaluated the potential for eight herbaceous and seven woody plant species to absorb PFAS compounds. Six PFAS compounds: PFPeA, PFHxA, PFOA, PFBS, PFHxS, and PFOS were added weekly to irrigation water, and the plants grown for up to 14 weeks after an initial establishment period. Significant accumulation of all PFAS compounds occurred in at least one plant species. Mass recovery in above-ground tissue by the best performing plant ranged from a low of 3.8% for PFOS by to a high of 42% for PFPeA by . Hyperaccumulation, defined as tissue/soil concentrations >10/1, was observed for all six PFAS compounds in at least one plant species. These results demonstrate the potential use of phytoremediation as a tool for remediating PFAS-contaminated sites.

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