Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 19, pp 19471–19480 | Cite as

Effect of petroleum hydrocarbons in copper phytoremediation by a salt marsh plant (Juncus maritimus) and the role of autochthonous bioaugmentation

  • I. P. F. M. Montenegro
  • A. P. Mucha
  • I. Reis
  • P. Rodrigues
  • C. M. R. Almeida
Research Article


This work aimed to investigate, under controlled but environmental relevant conditions, the effects of the presence of both inorganic and organic contaminants (copper and petroleum hydrocarbons) on phytoremediation potential of the salt marsh plant Juncus maritimus. Moreover, bioaugmentation, with an autochthonous microbial consortium (AMC) resistant to Cu, was tested, aiming an increase in the remediation potential of this plant in the presence of a co-contamination. Salt marsh plants with sediment attached to their roots were collected, placed in vessels, and kept in greenhouses, under tidal simulation. Sediments were contaminated with Cu and petroleum, and the AMC was added to half of the vessels. After 5 months, plants accumulated significant amounts of Cu but only in belowground structures. The amount of Cu was even higher in the presence of petroleum. AMC addition increased Cu accumulation in belowground tissues, despite decreasing Cu bioavailability, promoting J. maritimus phytostabilization potential. Therefore, J. maritimus has potential to phytoremediate co-contaminated sediments, and autochthonous bioaugmentation can be a valuable strategy for the recovery and management of moderately impacted estuaries. This approach can contribute for a sustainable use of the environmental resources.

Graphical abstract


Phytoremediation Bioremediation Co-contaminated soil Copper Petroleum Juncus maritimus 



The authors would like to thank Rayra Santiago, Tânia Oliveira, Tatiana Necrasov, and Catarina Magalhães for their help in the experiments assembling and dismantling of the vessels. This research was partially supported by the Strategic Funding UID/Multi/04423/2013 through national funds provided by Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the framework of the program PT2020 and by the structured program of R&D&I INNOVMAR—Innovation and Sustainability in the Management and Exploitation of Marine Resources, reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000035, namely within the Research Line ECOSERVICES (assessing the environmental quality, vulnerability, and risks for the sustainable management of the NW coast natural resources and ecosystem services in a changing world) within the R&D Institution CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research), supported by the Northern Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020) through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. P. F. M. Montenegro
    • 1
  • A. P. Mucha
    • 1
  • I. Reis
    • 1
  • P. Rodrigues
    • 1
  • C. M. R. Almeida
    • 1
  1. 1.CIMAR/CIIMAR—Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e AmbientalUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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