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Soil phytoremediation from the breakdown products of the chemical warfare agent, yperite


A plant-based bioremediation (phytoremediation) strategy has been developed and shown to be effective for the clean-up of soil contaminated by the breakdown products of the chemical warfare agent (CWA), yperite. The method involves exploiting the plant growth hormone, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), to intensify the phytoremediation. For determination of the yperite breakdown products, gas chromatography is used.

Soil and plant samples were analysed with a gas chromatograph fitted with an atomic emission detector. The method of standard-free determination was employed to identify sulphur-containing substances (SCSs). A series of soil tests was conducted, which showed that the level of SCSs decreased 4, 8, and more than 20-fold compared with that found in contaminated soil. This decrease was dependent upon the IAA concentrations used for plant treatment. The treated plants accumulated 2.7 to 2.9-fold larger amounts of the SCSs than did the untreated plants. Owing to its simplicity, environmental safety and inexpensiveness, the method can be recommended for the restoration of soil fertility in areas of storage and destruction of blister CWAs.

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Arbitrary Unit


Chemical Warfare Agent


Reaction Mass


Sulphur-Containing Substance


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Correspondence to Elena A. Zakharova.

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Zakharova, E.A., Kosterin, P.V., Brudnik, V.V. et al. Soil phytoremediation from the breakdown products of the chemical warfare agent, yperite. Environ. Sci. & Pollut. Res. 7, 191–194 (2000).

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  • CWA
  • phytoremediation
  • yperite breakdown
  • chemical warfare agents (CWA)
  • sulphur-containing substances
  • contaminated soils
  • destruction
  • plant growth hormone IAA
  • indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), IAA
  • soil phytoremediation