Global Centre for Environmental Remediation, Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW, 2308, Australia; Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR), University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environments, Advanced Technology Centre, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW, 2308, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
Endpoint assessment using biological systems in combination with the chemical analysis is important for evaluating the residual effect of contaminants following remediation. In this study, the level of residual toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) after 120 days of phytoremediation with five different plant species:- maize (Zea mays), Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense), vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides), sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia sp.) has been evaluated by ecotoxicological tests such as root nodulation and leghaemoglobin assay using garden pea (Pisum sativum) and acute, chronic and genotoxicity assays using earthworm (Eisenia fetida). The phytoremediated soil exhibited lesser toxicity supporting improved root nodulation and leghaemoglobin content in P. sativum and reducing DNA damage in E. fetida when compared to contaminated soil before remediation. Also, the results of the ecotoxicological assays with the legume and earthworm performed in this study complemented the results obtained by the chemical analysis of PAHs in phytoremediated soil. Therefore, these findings provide a basis for a framework in which remediation efficacy of PAHs-contaminated sites can be evaluated effectively with simple ecotoxicological bioassays using legumes and earthworms.