Effects of cationic surfactant on the bioaccumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in rice and the soil microbial community structure†
Cationic surfactants have been proposed as adsorbents for the remediation of aerobic agricultural soils contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). However, the effects of cationic surfactants on the bioavailability of PAHs in paddy soils and on the soil microbial community structure have not been investigated. In this study, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTMAB) was added into an anaerobic PAH-contaminated soil planted with rice (Oryza sativa L.). After harvest, the addition of 150 mg kg−1 CTMAB significantly reduced the bioavailability of PAHs in the soil and thus the bioaccumulation of PAHs from the soil into the rice roots. Based on the results of Tenax extraction, when applied at appropriate concentrations, CTMAB retarded the PAH desorption from the soil. The above effectiveness of CTMAB was better for high-molecular-weight PAHs (four to six benzene rings) than low-molecular-weight PAHs (two to three benzene rings). Amendment with CTMAB increased the bacterial diversity, species richness, and most of the bacterial phyla (especially involving Acidobacteria and Firmicutes) in the soils (p < 0.05). The contents of organic matter, ammonium nitrogen, and bioavailable PAH concentrations were the top three soil attributes that influenced the bacterial community structure in paddy soils amended with CTMAB. This study indicates that CTMAB applied at appropriate levels, can effectively reduce the environmental risk of PAHs in rice production, primarily via immobilization, and benefit the soil microbial ecology in the short term.