Pollution | VOL. 12, ISSUE 73, July-August 2012 |

Cleaning Soils with Phytoremediation

The term phytoremediation coined by Dr Ilya Raskin, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, refers to the cleanup of pollutants primarily mediated by photosynthetic plants. Cleanup is defined as the destruction, inactivation or immobilisation of the pollutants and/or its conversion into a harmless form. The process also called ‘green remediation’ or ‘botanical bioremediation’, involves the use of living green plants for in situ risk reduction and/or removal of contaminants from soil, water, sediments and air. Phytodecontamination A subset of phytoremediation - the concentrations of the contaminants in the soils of concern is reduced to an acceptable level through the action of plants, their associated microflora and agronomic practices. The process of phytodecontamination is achieved by phytoextraction, phytodegradation, rhizofilteration, phytovolatilisation, and rhizo (sphere) degradation (Fig 1). [caption id="attachment_1926" align="aligncenter" width="379"] Figure 1. Naturally occurring processes involved in phytodecontamination[/caption] Phytoextraction is the process where plant roots take up the metal contaminant from the...

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