Biotransformation of organic pollutants is crucial for the dissipation of environmental pollutants. While the roles of microorganisms have been extensively studied, the significant contribution of various root exudates are still not very well understood. Through plant growth experiment, coupled with gas and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods, this study examined the effect of the presence of M. sativa on microbial-associated biochemical transformation of petroleum hydrocarbons. The results of this study revealed that the concentration of exudates within the soil matrix is a function of proximity to root surfaces. Similarly, biodegradation was found to correlate with distance from roots, ranging from ≥ 90% within the rhizosphere to < 50% in bulk soil and unplanted control soil. Most importantly, for the first time in a study of an entire petroleum distillate, this study revealed a statistically significant negative correlation between root exudate concentration and residual total petroleum hydrocarbons. While not all the compounds that may influence biodegradation are derived from roots, the results of this study show that the presence of plant can significantly influence biodegradation of hydrocarbon pollutants through such root exudation as organic acids, amino acids, soluble sugars and terpenoids. Therefore, root exudates, including secondary metabolites, offer great prospects for biotechnological applications in the remediation of organic pollutants, including recalcitrant ones.



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Open Access


Comer Science and Education Foundation, Grant F-2019-BS-0028

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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© 2024 The Authors, All rights reserved.

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Publication Date

01 Dec 2024

PubMed ID


Available for download on Sunday, December 01, 2024

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