Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 28, Issue 1–2, pp 169–181 | Cite as

Accumulation, distribution and transformation of DDT and PCBs by Phragmites australis and Oryza sativa L.: II. Enzyme study

  • W. K. Chu
  • M. H. Wong
  • J. Zhang


Two wetland plant species, Phragmites australis and Oryza sativa, were grown in a glasshouse under hydroponics conditions. Enzyme extracts from different parts of the plants were used to determine the transformation rate of o,p-DDT, p,p-DDT and PCBs. The organic pollutants were directly spiked into the enzyme extracts, and samples were collected every 30 min and analyzed with a GC-ECD. Root extracts of P. australis readily degraded and transformed DDT and some PCB congeners with a low degree of chlorination. In contrast, crude extracts of O. sativa showed no appreciable degradation or transformation of DDT or PCBs. Inhibition studies indicated that the degradation and transformation of both DDT and PCBs by P. australis enzymes were partly mediated by peroxidase and the plant P-450 system. PCBs with a high degree of chlorination were highly resistant to transformation or degradation by plant enzymes. Both wetland plant species accumulated substantial quantities of the persistent organic chemicals but had different degradation capacities. The enzyme systems in P. australis were much more effective that those in rice in the degradation and transformation of the organic pollutants.


DDT PCBs persistent organic chemicals phytoremediation Phragmites australis Oryza sativa 


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This research was supported by the Central Allocation Group Research, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong (Code No: HKBU-2/00C).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina

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