Development of simplified probabilistic models for predicting phytoextraction timeframes of soil contaminants: demonstration at the DDX-contaminated Kolleberga tree nursery in Sweden
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2024

Phytoextraction, utilizing plants to remove soil contaminants, is a promising approach for environmental remediation but its application is often limited due to the long time requirements. This study aims to develop simplified and user-friendly probabilistic models to estimate the time required for phytoextraction of contaminants while considering uncertainties. More specifically we: i) developed probabilistic models for time estimation, ii) applied these models using site-specific data from a field experiment testing pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo ssp. pepo cv. Howden) for phytoextraction of DDT and its metabolites (ΣDDX), iii) compared timeframes derived from site-specific data with literature-derived estimates, and iv) investigated model sensitivity and uncertainties through various modelling scenarios. The models indicate that phytoextraction with pumpkin to reduce the initial total concentration of ΣDDX in the soil (10 mg/kg dw) to acceptable levels (1 mg/kg dw) at the test site is infeasible within a reasonable timeframe, with time estimates ranging from 48–123 years based on literature data or 3 570–9 120 years with site-specific data using the linear or first-order exponential model, respectively. Our results suggest that phytoextraction may only be feasible at lower initial ΣDDX concentrations (< 5 mg/kg dw) for soil polishing and that alternative phytomanagement strategies should be considered for this test site to manage the bioavailable fraction of DDX in the soil. The simplified modes presented can be useful tools in the communication with site owners and stakeholders about time approximations for planning phytoextraction interventions, thereby improving the decision basis for phytomanagement of contaminated sites.

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)


Field experiment



Probabilistic model


Paul Drenning

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

Anja Enell

Statens Geotekniska Institut (SGI)

Dan B. Kleja

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

Statens Geotekniska Institut (SGI)

Yevheniya Volchko

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

Jenny Norrman

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

0944-1344 (ISSN) 16147499 (eISSN)

Vol. 31 28 40925-40940

Utvärdering av innovativa och skonsamma in situ behandlingar för att hantera risker och förbättra ekosystemtjänster (PILOT-GRO)

Sveriges Geologiska Undersökning (SGU), 2021-05-01 -- 2024-08-01.

Nordvästra Skånes Renhållnings AB (NSR), 2021-05-01 -- 2024-08-01.

COWI A/S (APE/knl/C-147.01), 2021-05-01 -- 2024-08-01.

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU), 2021-05-01 -- 2024-08-01.

Formas (2021-01428), 2021-05-01 -- 2024-08-01.

Statens Geotekniska Institut (SGI) (1.1-2104-0303), 2021-05-01 -- 2024-08-01.


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