Juncus sarophorus, a native Australian species, tolerates and accumulates PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS in a glasshouse experiment

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Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been identified as emerging contaminants of public health concern. With PFAS now detected globally in a wide range of environments, there is an urgent need for effective remedial treatment solutions at the field scale. Phytoremediation presents a potential remediation strategy for PFAS that would allow efficient and cost-effective remediation at large scales. This study examined the potential for the Australian native wetland plant Juncus sarophorus to tolerate, take up, and accumulate PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS. A 190-day glasshouse experiment was conducted, in which 0, 10 and 100 μg/L each of PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS were used to irrigate J. sarophorus in potted soil. The results suggest that J. sarophorus has a high tolerance to PFAS and is effective at accumulating and transferring PFHxS and PFOA from soils to above ground biomass. Together with its high growth rate, J. sarophorus appears to be, in principle, a suitable candidate for phytoextraction of short-chained PFAS compounds. It is, however, less efficient at uptake of PFOS, owing to the long chain-lengths of this compound and PFOSs' ability to sorb effectively to soils. The total accumulated PFAS mass at the end of the experiment was ~2000 μg/kg biota(wet weight) and ~170 μg/kg biota(wet weight) for soils irrigated with 100 μg/L and 10 μg/L for each PFAS compound, translating into overall PFAS removal rates of 11% and 9%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154184
Number of pages7
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the support obtained from the China Scholarship Council ( 201908430252 ) for Jiawen Zhu.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance
  • PFAS
  • Phytoremediation
  • Remediation
  • Wetland


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