Brownfield Soil Testing and Phytoremediation

​In partnership with environmental colleagues at the Camp Pendleton Superfund Site, the UC San Diego Superufund Research Program (Research Translation Core) went into the field at Camp Pendleton to collect soil samples from a site contaminated with arsenic  (May 10, 2013). The samples will be used in Dr. Julian Schoreder’s lab to test the capacity of plants to extract arsenic from soil.  The Schroeder lab is doing research on phytoremediation.

Photo: Tim Jobe, Keith Pezzoli and Richard Winkler at the Camp Pendleton Superfund Site—collecting soil samples

The EPA defines Phytoremediation as the direct use of green plants and their associated microorganisms to stabilize or reduce contamination in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water, or ground water. Phytoremediation can be used to clean up Brownfields.

The Research and Translation Core is collaborating with San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health to test soil for organic and inorganic toxicants.

Soil is extracted from brownfield sites and tested the lab for heavy metals (i.e., Cadmium, Aresenic, Cobalt, Manganese), and organic toxicants including Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs), Bisphenol-A (BPA), Pesticides, Plasticizers, and Hindered Phenols. The UCSD's Superfund Research Center lab uses the soil obtained from contaminated sites to test plant toxicant accumulation to identify plant species that can be used for Phytoremediation. Certain plant species, known as hyperaccumulators, have the ability to extract elements from the soil. 

Nicolas Lopez, SDSU, collecting soil samples from a site in Southeast San Diego

Tim Jobe (Superfund Research Center, UCSD) and Joseph M. Murtaugh (Installation Restoration Section Head Environmental Security, Camp Pendleton) discussing site selection for soil sampling.


UCSD Superfund Research Center
University of California, San Diego
Pharmacology Department
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0722
La Jolla, CA 92093-0722