The Phytoremediation of Heavy Metal Contaminated Roadside Soils in Libya by Eucalyptus Camaldeulensis

  • Khaled Sallami

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    There is a public concern over the potential accumulation of heavy metals in soils. Numerous studies have already demonstrated that areas in close proximity to vehicular traffic are marked noticeably by contamination of soil, air and water. Hence, such activities can affect humans and other living organisms. The aim of this study is to investigate the pollution of soils caused by vehicular traffic, on agricultural land in Azzawiyah, Liby with the view of assessing potential application of phytoremediation options for the remediation of contaminated soils and determine whether soil amendments would improve soil remediation.

    In an effort to improve the status of pollution of soils by vehicular traffic, a phytoremediation method of remediation of contaminated land has been used in this study, as it is relatively inexpensive and has the potential through the appropriate selection of plant species to be effective. This method is a soil clean up technology that uses the ability of metal accumulator plants to extract metal from contaminated soil with their roots and to concentrate these metals in above-ground plant parts.

    In this study, the investigation area was in Azzawiyah city where the soil samples and Doedonea viscose plant were collected from the road side. These soil samples were analysed using different experiments to determine physical and chemical properties, such as pH, OM and CEC. Heavy metals in soil and Doedonea viscose shoot and root were analysed using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES).

    The findings of the study show that all soils samples collected along the highway road connecting Azzawiyah with the southern parts of Libya were found to be granular with a sandy texture. It is also found that the metal content in soil collected from the site, which is close to the roadside was relatively higher than that soil collected from the agricultural field in the same area. Furthermore, the level of Pb (840mg/kg-1) in roadside soils was higher than the natural levels of Pb in soils. In addition, Doedonea viscose plant was not a hyperaccumulor plant.

    Greenhouse experiments used three plants (E. camaldeulensis, Brassica Juncea and Medicago sativum) to uptake heavy metal, such as Cd, Zn and Pb from the soil samples. The greenhouse experiment results indicate that E. camaldeulensis was the best plant species for phytoremediation of Pb contaminated soils than the other two plants species (Brassica Juncea, Medicago sativum).

    The efficiency of the E. camaldeulensis was increased by adding amendments (e.g. compost, compost, EDTA, Hoagland solution and Alcaligenes eutrophus) to the plants pots in order to uptake the lead form soil samples. The results of the pots amendments experiments indicate that 15 mmol of EDTA and bacterial inoculums (Alcaligenes eutrophus) were the best amendments to extract lead from the soils. The study suggests that using the Alcaligenes eutrophus with the E. camaldeulensis are more suitable for phytoremediation in terms of accumulation and cost.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorEssie Ganjian (Supervisor) & Steve Coupe (Supervisor)


    • Phytoremediation
    • Soil remediation
    • Metals
    • Environmental aspects

    Cite this