Ecophysiological Responses of a Willow Cultivar (Salix miyabeana ‘SX67’) Irrigated with Treated Wood Leachate

  • Chloé FrédetteEmail author
  • Yves Comeau
  • Jacques Brisson


As wood preservatives leach from exposed treated wood, they contaminate soil and water, creating an environmental problem that needs to be addressed. Treating this contamination is particularly challenging since it includes mixed compounds, such as heavy metals and trace elements, as well as xenobiotic organic pollutants like polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxin/furan congeners (PCDD/Fs) that are very toxic and are under very strict discharge regulations. Cultivating fast-growing willow shrubs, either in soil or in treatment wetlands, offers a flexible and inexpensive treatment option. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the tolerance of a frequently used willow cultivar (Salix miyabeana ‘SX67’) to irrigation with leachate contaminated with pentachlorophenol (PCP) and chromated chromium arsenate (CCA), two important wood preservatives. We designed a mesocosms experiment with willow grown in three different substrates and irrigated over 12 weeks with three different leachate concentrations. Willow proved to be tolerant to irrigation with the raw leachate, with only leaf area decreasing with increasing leachate concentration. However, the type of growing substrate influenced willow ecophysiological responses and overall performance, and seemed to affect contaminant dynamics in the plant-soil system. All contaminants accumulated in willow roots, and Cu and PCDD/Fs were also translocated to aerial parts. Overall, this study suggests that Salix miyabeana ‘SX67’ could be a good candidate for treating water or soil contaminated with wood preservatives.


Phytotoxicity Phytoremediation Wood preservatives Pentachlorophenol (PCP) Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) Polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs) 



This work was supported by the NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair. Helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript were provided by Karen Grislis. Our thanks to Hydro-Québec for their support and assistance, Benoît St-Georges for green house management and pesticide treatments, lab assistants for plant monitoring and data collection, and lab colleagues for useful comments.

Funding Information

This work was financially supported by the NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair. Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de sciences biologiquesUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Institut de recherche en biologie végétaleMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Civil, Geological and Mining EngineeringPolytechnique MontréalMontréalCanada

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