Dieldrin is a hydrophobic organochlorine insecticide that is persistent in the environment. The fate and transport of dieldrin in trees is important both in the context of potential remediation, as well as food chain impacts through dieldrin transport to shoots and leaves. Experiments were conducted to measure the degree of dieldrin partitioning to plant tissue and the potential for biodegradation of dieldrin in the microbe rich tree rhizosphere. Dieldrin was analyzed in water and plant tissue using headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME) coupled with gas chromatography. Poplar and willow saplings planted in soil and watered with 10 μg l-1 dieldrin for up to 9 months showed no adverse effects due to dieldrin exposure and no dieldrin was observed in plant shoots with a method detection limit (MDL) of 7 ng g-1. One-week hydroponic tests of poplar saplings exposed to aqueous dieldrin also showed no detection of dieldrin in shoots, with an average of 66% of the dieldrin partitioned to the plant roots and an overall mass balance recovery of 76% in the plant-water system. The root concentration factor (RCF) was found to be 30 ± 3 ml water g-1 root. Biodegradation of dieldrin was not observed in an aqueous batch bioreactor containing 8 μg l-1 dieldrin, nutrients and bacteria from the root zone of a poplar sapling that had been exposed to dieldrin for 9 months. These results show that planting trees is likely to be safe and potentially useful at sites containing low-levels of dieldrin in groundwater.
- Root concentration factor
- Solid-phase microextraction