Differential tolerance of cool- and W arm-season grasses to TNT -contaminated soil

Gopal Krishnan, Garald L. Horst, Patrick J. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Plants can be used for effective and economical remediation of soil provided they are tolerant or resistant to the contaminants. Greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the tolerance of the cool-season grasses: smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermus Leyss.) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinaceae Schreb), and the warm-season grasses: big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) to TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) in soil. TNT-contaminated soil was mixed with uncontaminated soil to obtain water-extractable TNT concentrations ranging from 71 to 435 mg kg-1, corresponding to acetonitrile-extractable concentrations of 278 to 3115 mg kg-1. Germination, shoot and root dry weight, and root area were measured in response to TNT concentrations in the soil mixtures. Germination and height of the warm-season grass species were more sensitive than the cool-season grass species to increasing TNT concentrations in soil. Significant reductions in shoot and root growth were observed in cool-season grasses at lower TNT concentrations in soil compared with warm-season grasses in the soil mixtures. Results indicated that the warm-season grasses can be established in soil containing less than 86 mg of water-extractable TNT kg-1, based on 80% of measured growth in uncontaminated control soil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-382
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Big bluestem
  • Bioremediation
  • Phytoremediation
  • Smooth bromegrass
  • Switchgrass
  • Tall fescue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Plant Science

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