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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: PHYTOREMEDIATION - AN OVERVIEW

Authors
item Arthur, Ellen - BAYER CROP SCIENCE
item Rice, Pamela
item Rice, Patricia - BASF CORP
item Anderson, Todd - TEXAS TECH UNIV
item Baladi, Sadika - BECHTEL SAVANNAH RIVER
item Henderson, Keri - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Coats, Joel - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Citation: Arthur, E.L., Rice, P.J., Rice, P.J., Anderson, T.A., Baladi, S.M., Henderson, K.L., Coats, J.R. 2005. Phytoremediation - an overview. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences. 24:109-122.

Interpretive Summary: Phytoremediation, the use of plants to extract and accumulate or degrade pollutants; can be used as an economical approach to remove environmental contaminants. An overview of phytoremediation is presented; including phytofiltration and rhizofiltration, phytoextraction, phytoimmobilization, phytostabilization, and phytodegradation and rhizodegradation. Biotechnological advances in phytoremediation are also discussed. The root zone or rhizosphere of plants provides an optimal environment for diverse microbial communities that can degrade organic pollutants. Organic pollutants can also be taken up into plant tissues where they are transformed or sequestered. Plants can absorb and accumulate inorganic chemicals from soil and water. Hyperaccumulating plant species are of particular interest for remediation of metal-contamination in the environment. The use of plants in phytoextraction of metals, for example, provides a novel tool to remove and even reclaim metals of value from contaminated soils. Plant or root tissues have been tested as phytofiltration or rhizofiltration systems to remove contaminants from water. Phytostabilization of contaminants by plants does not result in removal of the contaminant from soil, but in elimination of the availability and, thus, the hazard of the toxic chemical. Plants ability to remove contaminants from the environment can be further enhanced by utilizing biotechnological advances that include the exploitation of inherent detoxification mechanisms of plants and the transfer of metabolic functions from microorganisms or mammals to plants. An estimated 2% of the United States gross national product is spent on environmental remediation and pollution control. Most remediation strategies relying on physical and chemical processes, such as excavation and treatment, volatilization via air venting, leaching with a surfactant, and vitrification. Phytoremediation has emerged as a cost effective, noninvasive, and publicly acceptable way to address the removal of environmental contaminants. This information will benefit scientists, private companies and agencies involved in contamination cleanup, and communities interested in improving the health of their surrounding environment.

Technical Abstract: Phytoremediation, the use of plants to extract and sequester or degrade pollutants; can be used as an economical approach to remove environmental contaminants. An overview of phytoremediation is presented; including phytofiltration and rhizofiltration, phytoextraction, phytoimmobilization, phytostabilization, and phytodegradation and rhizodegradation. Biotechnological advances in phytoremediation are also discussed. The root zone or rhizosphere of plants provides an optimal environment for diverse microbial communities that can degrade organic pollutants. Organic pollutants can also be taken up into plant tissues where they are transformed or sequestered. Plants can absorb and accumulate inorganic chemicals from soil and water. Hyperaccumulating plant species are of particular interest for remediation of metal-contamination in the environment. The use of plants in phytoextraction of metals, for example, provides a novel tool to remove and even reclaim metals of value from contaminated soils. Plant or root tissues have been tested as phytofiltration or rhizofiltration systems to remove contaminants from water. Phytostabilization of contaminants by plants does not result in removal of the contaminant from soil, but in elimination of the availability and, thus, the hazard of the toxic chemical. Plants ability to remove contaminants from the environment can be further enhanced by utilizing biotechnological advances that include the exploitation of inherent detoxification mechanisms of plants and the transfer of metabolic functions from microorganisms or mammals to plants.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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