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Ecological Engineering
Vol. 99, 2017, Pages: 70–82

Effectiveness of in situ application of an Integrated Phytoremediation System (IPS) by adding a selected blend of rhizosphere microbes to heavily multi-contaminated soils

Carmine Guarino, Rosaria Sciarrillo

Department of Sciences and Technologies, University of Sannio, 82100, Benevento, Italy.


In recent years, the disposal of former industrial sites has widely become a key subject of interest in terms of remediation in order to promote their different use for the community. The use of biological processes, such as phytoremediation, has been worldwide discussed with varying success.

In this study, we applied an Integrated Phytoremediation System (IPS), which represents a cost-effective system, environmentally friendly, socially accepted for the removal of the risks associated with the contamination of heavy metal (As, Cd, Pb and Zn) of unsaturated soils.

The combination of suitable agronomic soil management and biostimulation of plant growth by inoculation of rhizosphere microbes allowed to increase biomass production of selected plant species (Acacia saligna and Eucalyptus camaldulensis) in very stressful conditions and, consequently, promote the phytoremediation of contaminants.

The experimental study in situ revealed a significant positive aptitude of selected plant species to keep PTEs (Potential Toxic Elements) in their root system, with a restricted translocation to the aboveground parts.

The “plant-fungi-bacteria” system in rhizosphere level showed, also, strong ability to remove the bioavailable fraction of contaminants with a considerable reduction of the risks associated to the contamination.

This study reveals that the application of an Integrated Phytoremediation System (IPS) permits to reach the soil remediation in few years with economically, socially and environmentally sustainable costs.

Keywords: Soil phytoremediation system; Heavy metals; Rhizosphere microbes; Acacia saligna; Eucalyptus camaldulensis.

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