Dynamics of the remediating effects of plant litter on the biological and chemical properties of petroleum-contaminated soil

  • Xiaoxi Zhang
  • Wenxing Zhou
  • Hui Liu
  • Erlei Bai
  • Jizhou Zhang
  • Zengwen LiuEmail author
Research Article


To investigate the comprehensive remediating effects of plant residues on biological and chemical properties and the long-term dynamics of these effects, litter from Caragana korshinskii (caragana) or Ziziphus jujuba var. spinosa (jujube) was mixed with three types of soil that were contaminated with 12.49, 27.54, and 45.37 g kg−1 of petroleum. The mixtures were incubated at 20–25 °C with consistent soil moisture for 360 days. Subsequently, the litter impacts on the soil microbial population, the activities of 12 types of soil hydrolytic, and redox enzymes related to the cycling of C, N, and P, and the available N, P, and K contents were determined during the incubation. The results indicated that both types of litter significantly accelerated the reproduction of soil microbes and significantly increased the activities of most of the hydrolytic enzymes and the available nutrient contents after the short-term treatments, while the litters usually simultaneously depressed the activities of polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase in the slightly and moderately contaminated soils. However, the comprehensive remediating effects of the litters on the lightly contaminated soil significantly decreased over time while it recovered to some extent at the end of the experiment. The remediating effects on the seriously contaminated soil exhibited the opposite trend, and their remediating effects on the moderately contaminated soil exhibited continuous weakening. Generally, the remediating effects of the caragana litter were more noticeable than those of the jujube litter, except for the effect on the slightly contaminated soil after 180 days of treatment.


Petroleum contamination Necrophytoremediation Biological and chemical properties of soil Plant residues 


Funding information

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31800370); the Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China (2018JQ4047); the Young Talent fund of University Association for Science and Technology in Shaanxi, China (20170704); the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Yan’an University (YDBK2017-26); and the College Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program (D2017082 and D2017076).  


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shaanxi Engineering and Technological Research Center for Conservation and Utilization of Regional Biological Resources, College of Life SciencesYan’an UniversityYan’anChina
  2. 2.Institute of Soil and Water ConservationNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.College of Economics and ManagementNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  4. 4.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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