, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 521–538 | Cite as

A real-scale soil phytoremediation

  • Cristina Macci
  • Serena Doni
  • Eleonora Peruzzi
  • Simone Bardella
  • Giorgio Filippis
  • Brunello Ceccanti
  • Grazia Masciandaro
Original Paper


In the present investigation, a phytoremediation process with a combination of different plant species (Populus nigra (var.italica), Paulownia tomentosa and Cytisus scoparius), and natural growing vegetation has been proposed at real-scale (10.000 m2) to bioremediate and functionally recover a soil historically contaminated by heavy metals and hydrocarbons. In the attempts to assess both effectiveness and evolution of the remediation system towards a natural soil ecosystem, besides the pollution parameters, also parameters describing the efficiency of the microbiological components (enzyme activities), were investigated. In 3 years, the total content of hydrocarbons and heavy metals in soil decreased with time (40 % and 20–40 %, respectively), reaching concentrations under the limit of National legislation and making the site suitable for environmental reusing. The reduction in pollutants was probably the reason of the increase in dehydrogenase (indicator of overall microbial activity), β-glucosidase and phosphatase activities, enzymes related to C and P cycles, respectively. However, this trend was obviously due also to the increase of chemical nutrients, acting as substrate of these enzymes. Moreover, a phytotest carried out with Raphanus sativus, showed, after 3 years, a significant increase in percentage of plant growth, confirming a reduction in soil toxicity and an improvement in soil nutritional state. Therefore, this phytoremediation system seems very promising to perform both decontamination and functional recovery of a polluted soil at real-scale level.


Bioremediation Heavy metals Hydrocarbons Enzyme activities Soil quality 



The study was carried out within the framework of a project financed by San Giuliano Terme Municipality and Tuscany region. The authors would like to thank Fernando Di Giovanni and Manuele Scatena for the assistance in samples collection and preparation and Daniele Baesso for his assistance in the laboratory assays.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Macci
    • 1
  • Serena Doni
    • 1
  • Eleonora Peruzzi
    • 1
  • Simone Bardella
    • 1
  • Giorgio Filippis
    • 1
  • Brunello Ceccanti
    • 1
  • Grazia Masciandaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi (ISE), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)PisaItaly

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