Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Julie Goldberg, Wachusett Regional High School, Paxton, MA
Oil spills are a pressing issue and cleanup methods often further harm the environment. Two eco-friendly methods of oil spill collection are mycoremediation and phytoremediation, which break down hydrocarbons by releasing enzymes through mycelium or by fueling bacteria with nutrients respectively. It was hypothesized that soil treated by oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) mycoremediation and alfalfa phytoremediation would increase regrowth ability of winter rye after treatment by allowing for greater heights, stronger stalks with less lean factor, as well as more success in germination.

The experiment had six groups: a control group, oil group, alfalfa group, alfalfa with oil group, oyster mushroom group, and an oyster mushroom with oil group. There were three seeds in each of the ten planters per group. When applicable, 300mL of 20W-50 oil was mixed thoroughly into the soil in the first trial, with 400mL in the second trial. Quantitative data included: height, angle, and successful germination. Qualitative data included: which rye were green, brown, bent, twisted, and fallen. Through data and statistics, the hypothesis was mostly supported. The group treated by phytoremediation showed a greater trend in height and other health components than data from mycoremediation treatment. The phytoremediation group achieved the same rate of growth as the control throughout both trials, showing no significant difference. This suggests that the oil amount in the soil was reduced to the extent that it no longer inhibited the growth of rye. Based on the results, alfalfa phytoremediation should show similar results in a larger scale oil spill, and can be used most successfully on the side of major roads or as a complimentary collection technique. In the extension, biostimulation was also used to treat oil contaminated soil, where a tablespoon of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer was applied every four days. This group of winter rye showed similar results to the alfalfa and was not significantly different from the control group, but more successful than the oil group. Based on results from this experiment, biostimulation and phytoremediation can be successfully used together in collaboration or with other types of oil spill collection techniques to treat small to large oil spills.