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Phytoremediation of heavy metals: Recent techniques

CD Jadia
MH Fulekar


The current remediation technique of heavy metal from contaminated soil-water are expensive, time consuming and environmentally destructive. Unlike organic compounds, metals cannot degrade, and
therefore effective cleanup requires their immobilization to reduce or remove toxicity. In recent years, scientists and engineers have started to generate cost effective technologies that include use of
microorganisms/biomass or live plants to clean polluted areas. Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for cleaning up contaminated sites, which is cost effective, and has aesthetic advantages and long term applicability. It is best applied at sites with shallow contamination of organic, nutrient or metal pollutants that are amenable to one of the five applications; phytotransformation, rhizosphere bioremediation, phytostabilization, phytoextraction and rhizofiltration. The technology involves efficient use of plants to remove, detoxify or immobilize environmental contaminants in a growth matrix (soil, water or sediments) through the natural, biological, chemical or physical activities or processes of the plants. A brief review on phytoremediation of heavy metals and its effect on plants have been compiled to provide a wide applicability of phytoremediation.