Endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide, is known for its toxicity and ability to accumulate in the environment. In India endosulfan was banned only in 2011 and hence toxic residues are still persistent in the environment. The abilities of three plant species Chittaratha (Alpinia calcarata), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), and Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) to remove endosulfan from soil in the absence and presence of zerovalent iron nanoparticles (nZVIs) (1000 mg/Kg of soil), i.e., by phytoremediation and nano-phytoremediation, were determined. Extracted soil samples from the experimental plot were analyzed using Gas Chromatograph with Electron Capture Detector (GC-ECD) and final dehalogenated product was confirmed by Mass Spectrometer (MS). A. calcarata had the best efficiency compared to the other two plant species and the efficiency decreased in the order A. calcarata > O. sanctum> C. citrates. The initial endosulfan removal rate was high (82% was removed within 7 days) when nano phytoremediation experiments were conducted with A. calcarata but then gradually decreased, probably because the activity of nZVI decreased over time. The nZVI endosulfan degradation mechanism appears to involve hydrogenolysis and sequential dehalogenation which was confirmed by GC-MS analysis. Only small amounts of endosulfan were accumulated in the plants because the added nZVIs might have promoted the reductive dechlorination of endosulfan.
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