The effect of ethylene glycol on the phytovolatilization of 1,4-dioxane

Int J Phytoremediation. 2011 Aug;13(7):702-16. doi: 10.1080/15226514.2010.525553.


Phytoremediation at contaminated sites is often complicated by the presence of more than one chemical However, the effects of common co-contaminants such as ethylene glycol on the phytoremediation of other chemicals, e.g., 1,4-dioxane, is not well understood. Field studies with DN34 poplar trees revealed a 28% decline in growth rate in response to 10 g/L ethylene glycol in the groundwater, thus indicating a significant and deleterious effect on tree viability, and likely, the plants' utility for phytoremediation. Thorough investigations using Arabidopsis thaliana, with its small size and rapid life cycle, indicated significant growth reduction at 10 g/L and complete inhibition of germination at 40 g/L ethylene glycol Ethylene glycol was almost as severe a stressor as the well characterized osmotic inhibitor, sorbitoL Watering potted trees with 10 g/L ethylene glycol reduced their growth by more than 50%, and similar results were observed in hydroponically grown poplar and willow trees. Under hydroponic conditions, 60 g/L ethylene glycol inhibited the phytovolatilization of l,4-dioxane by more than 80%, and all trees evapo-transpired 1,4-dioxane less efficiently than water. In fact, this efficiency differed between trees and the difference became more pronounced in the presence of ethylene glycol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Dioxanes / analysis
  • Dioxanes / metabolism*
  • Ethylene Glycol / pharmacology*
  • Hydroponics
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Transpiration / drug effects
  • Populus / drug effects*
  • Populus / growth & development
  • Populus / metabolism
  • Salix / drug effects*
  • Salix / growth & development
  • Salix / metabolism
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism
  • Sorbitol / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Trees / drug effects
  • Trees / growth & development
  • Trees / physiology
  • Volatilization / drug effects


  • Dioxanes
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Sorbitol
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • 1,4-dioxane