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90, No. 11, 2013; Pages: 2654 - 2661

Combined phytoremediation of metal-working fluids with maize plants inoculated with different microorganisms and toxicity assessment of the phytoremediated waste

Jose A. Lucas García, Lucia Grijalbo, Beatriz Ramos, Francisca Fernández-Piñas, Ismael Rodea-Palomares, Francisco J. Gutierrez-Mañero

Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad San Pablo CEU, Urb. Monteprincipe, Boadilla del Monte, 28668 Madrid, Spain.


The aim of this study was to validate the effectiveness of a phytoremediation procedure for metal-working fluids (MWFs) with maize plants growing in hydroponic culture in which the roots grow on esparto fibre and further improve bioremediation potential of the system with root beneficial bacteria, seeking a synergistic effect of the plant–microorganism combination. Chemical oxygen demand (COD), pH, total and type of hydrocarbons measured after phytoremediation indicated that the process with maize plants was successful, as demonstrated by the significant decrease in the parameters measured. This effect was mainly due to the plant although inoculated microorganisms had a relevant effect on the type of remaining hydrocarbons. The success of the phytoremediation process was further confirmed by two toxicity tests, one of them based on chlorophyll fluorescence measurements on maize plants and another one based on cyanobacteria, using a bioluminescent toxicity bioassay; both tests demonstrated that the phytoremediated waste was significantly less toxic than the initial non-phytoremediated MWFs.

Keywords: Maize; Metal-working fluids; Microorganisms; Photosynthesis phytoremediation; Toxicity tests



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