Submitted to: Mcgraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2006
Publication Date: 5/12/2006
Citation: Klein, M., Papoyan, A., Kochian, L.V. 2006. Phytoremediation. In: Mcgraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology. p. 115-125. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Heavy metal contamination of soils poses serious problems to our society, and the current technologies used to remediate soils are quite costly and disruptive. There is considerable interest in the use of terrestrial plants to clean up heavy metals from the soil, a process that has been termed phytoremediation. Within the area of phytoremediation there are a range of specific uses of plants depending on the type and concentration of pollution as well as the desired end result. These include phytoextraction, phytovolatiziation, phytostabilization, and phytodegradation of organic contaminants in the soil. This article will focus on phytoremediation as it relates to the phytoextraction of heavy metals in the soil and their storage in the easily harvestable, above-ground biomass. A small number of metal hyperaccumulating plants have been identified that can grow in highly contaminated soils and accumulate these metals to high shoot concentrations. The growing awareness of these types of plants by the environmental remediation and plant biology research communities has been a major driving force in the increased interest in using plants for remediation of soil metal contamination. In this article, we will discuss the general properties of metal hyperaccumulating plants, and how research on these plants is being used to advance the field of phytoremediation.