Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seedlings were used to remove from water the fungicide metalaxyl-M and the endocrine disruptor (EDC) bisphenol A (BPA) at concentrations ranging from 2 to 100 μg mL-1. In 7 days of exposure, despite the phytotoxicity of each compound that reduced elongation and biomass, the seedlings were able to remove between 67 and 94% of metalaxyl-M and between 86 and 95% of BPA. The amounts of metalaxyl-M and BPA extracted from plant dry biomass were in the range of 106-3861 μg g-1 and 16-101 μg g-1, respectively, and resulted positively correlated to both the dose of compound added (P ≤ 0.01) and the amount removed by the plants (P ≤ 0.01). Plant uptake and transformation were the main mechanisms involved in the removal of the compounds. In another set of experiments, hemp was used to remove a mixture of two pesticides, metalaxyl-M and metribuzin, and three EDCs, BPA, 17β-estradiol (E2), and 4-tert-octylphenol (OP), at concentrations of 10, 10, 10, 10, and 1 μg g-1, respectively, from soil column not added and added with 2.5% (w/w) of a green compost (CM) or a wood biochar (BC). In 25 days, plants did not alter considerably the distribution of the compounds along the soil profile and were capable of removing, on average, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 14% of metalaxyl-M, metribuzin, BPA, E2, and OP, respectively. During growth, hemp transformed the compounds and accumulated part of them (except OP) mainly in the shoots. CM and, especially, BC significantly protected the plants from the toxicity of the compounds and enhanced the retention of the latter in soil, contrasting leaching. Thus, the single or synergistic use of hemp and amendments deserves attention being a very low-cost and eco-sustainable strategy to remediate water and soil.
Keywords: Biochar, Compost, Endocrine disruptor, Hemp, Organic contaminant, Phytoremediation, Plant uptake, Water Decontamination